EDMOND, Okla. — A powerful storm system rumbled through the Plains and upper Midwest on Sunday, spawning tornadoes that damaged roofs and structures near Oklahoma City and kicked up debris in Wichita, Kan.
There were no immediate reports of injuries caused by the funnel cloud that touched down in the Oklahoma City suburb of Edmond before moving off to the northeast, or the one that touched down near Wichita’s Mid-Continent Airport late Sunday afternoon.
Forecasters had been warning for days that a big storm may barrel through the region over the weekend, and emergency responders were keeping a close eye on the system in several other states, including Missouri, Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois and Texas.
“I knew it was coming,” said Randy Grau, who huddled with his wife and two young boys in their Edmond’s home’s safe room when the tornado hit. He said he peered out his window as the weather worsened and believed he saw a flock of birds heading down the street.
“Then I realized it was swirling debris,” Grau said. “That’s when we shut the door of the safe room.
“I probably had them in there for 10 minutes.”
In Wichita, there were few reports of damage after a storm hit near the airport shortly before 4 p.m. Sedgwick County (Kan.) Emergency Management Director Randy Duncan said officials were “very grateful” that the storm wasn’t more severe.
The Storm Prediction Center had been warning about severe weather in the region since last Wednesday and for the past two days had warned there was a moderate risk of severe weather on Sunday.
“They’ve been calling for this all day,” Edmond resident Anita Wright said after riding out the twister in an underground shelter. She and her husband Ed emerged from their hiding place to find uprooted trees, downed limbs and damaged gutters in their home.
In Katie Leathers’ backyard, the family’s trampoline was tossed through a section of fence and a giant tree uprooted.
“I saw all the trees waving, and that’s when I grabbed everyone and got into two closets,” Leathers said. “All these trees just snapped.”