SEDALIA, Mo. – Severe storms across the Midwest packed winds that knocked over airplanes, ripped roofs off homes and spawned tornadoes that killed three people.
A twister, which roared up to one-half mile wide, killed a woman seeking shelter in her mobile home and displaced about 150 residents in western Missouri on Sunday night, officials said.
Six people were injured and two were missing after the tornado cut a path more than 16 miles wide through the town of Sedalia, said Rusty Kahrs, Pettis County presiding commissioner.
Bobby Ritcheson, 23, said he watched his neighbor die when her mobile home collapsed on her south of Sedalia.
"She went in there," Ritcheson said of the victim, and "the trailer came down right on top of her."
Sheriff Kevin Bond described the damage he saw as "large amounts of power lines down, many buildings that are simply no longer there, and a tremendous amount of debris."
Storms rolled through northeastern Kansas earlier in the day with fierce winds that lifted a cargo container off the airfield at the Kansas City International Airport, authorities said. At the Charles B. Wheeler Downtown Airport, some private airplanes tied down on the airfield were "spun around," spokesman Joe McBride said.
The University of Kansas in Lawrence canceled classes Monday after 60 percent of its buildings were damaged by the storm, school officials said. The roof of the nondenominational Danforth Chapel, which has been the site for thousands of weddings on campus, was torn off almost completely.
James Patterson, 23, was asleep in his upstairs Lawrence apartment when a sudden drop in pressure woke him about 8 a.m.
"It felt like I was in the tornado, if that's what it was," he said.
The storms followed powerful tornadoes that ripped across southern Missouri and southern Illinois Saturday night, destroying homes along a path of more than 20 miles and killing a married couple whose pickup truck was blown off a rural road about 80 miles south of St. Louis, officials said.
During the night, several people were injured as the storm system pounded the central Mississippi Valley with hailstones as big as softballs, high wind and torrential rain.
It was not immediately clear how many tornadoes struck the area. The twisters were part of a long line of stormy weather that stretched from the southern Plains up the Ohio Valley.