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Leawood family recalls scary experience after EF-1 touched down in neighborhood in 2022

Leawood tornado
Posted at 7:15 PM, Mar 07, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-08 12:05:43-05

LEAWOOD, Kan. — Last summer, six tornadoes touched down across the Kansas City area.

It was the night of June 7 into the morning of June 8, when a tornado moved through Johnson and Jackson counties — a night the Horsemans remember well.

KSHB 41 Meteorologist Cassie Wilson sat down with the Horsemans and another weather expert to talk about the scary night.

“All I remember is that he screamed at me, 'Grab Mila and go downstairs,'" Shana Horseman said. "That’s my first memory. Like I was dead asleep and then my husband, who doesn’t normally get worked up about storms, was screaming at me to get Mila and go downstairs.”

Her husband, Jeremy Horseman, recalled what prompted him to tell his family to seek shelter.

“I heard the phone alarm go off and I didn’t think much of it," he said, "so I turned it off and heard the wind outside. Lightning, thunder — I went to the window in our bedroom and I saw our neighbors tree limb hit their house, and a whole bunch of limbs flying around. And that’s when I told her we need to get Mila and go downstairs."

Mila is the Horsemans' 3-year-old daughter.

The family, along with their dog Grizzlie, sheltered in their basement as an EF-1 tornado swept through their neighborhood.

The tornado produced 100-mph winds and was wider than a football field at times.

It twisted trees, tossed them at homes and knocked out the power in places through the two counties.

Many others remember this night and just how quickly the storms intensified, including Andy Bailey, a warning coordination meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

“Storms began really, really late in the evening and started off a little bit slow, but very quickly evolved into something we call a QLCS tornado event, which is kind of like a squall line and tornado event mixed," Bailey said. "We had a couple of tornadoes spin up really rapidly into the early morning hours, about one in the morning, and that’s really a meteorologists nightmare.”

As a mother and a meteorologist, Wilson said nothing scares her more than the threat of overnight severe weather.

This is why she said having a way to get alerts while people are sleeping is crucial.

The Horsemans, who have lived around severe weather their entire lives, said such warnings now hit differently.

“I feel differently about severe weather at night now," Jeremy Horseman said.

Shana Horseman agreed.

"I feel more cautious, like I’ll stop assuming it’s not going to happen to me, and that it could happen again and I’ll be ready," she said.

Before the tornado sirens sound, Wilson says it's important for families to have a plan and practice it.

She recommends the following tips:

  • Designate a safe place in your home and workplace;
  • Go through your children's school plan with them;
  • Make sure to have flashlights, batteries and a way to stay connected;
  • Store important documents in a safe place;
  • Have duplicates of any medications or child-care items.

"Most importantly, when bad weather hits, don’t panic, tune into KSHB 41 and we will walk you through it," Wilson said.