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Power outages persist across Kansas City after strong storms

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dec 15 thunderstorm watch correct
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Posted at 12:10 PM, Dec 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-15 22:26:01-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — 9:15 p.m. | Evergy officials said to expect delays in power restoration. Over 156,000 customers still do not have power.

8:22 p.m. | The Kansas City, Missouri, Police Department non-emergency phone lines are back online.

7:46 p.m. | The Kansas City, Missouri, Police Department said its non-emergency phone lines are offline. People can still call 911 for emergencies.

The department said it will provide updates when the line is restored.

7:25 p.m. | We're receiving reports of the smell of smoke in the metro area. The National Weather Service says the smoke was blown in from wildfires out in Kansas.

7:15 p.m. | Officials are KCI report that they have completed a safety sweep of the grounds and have re-opened for operations.

7 p.m. | Kansas City, Missouri, Mayor Quinton Lucas told residents to stay safe as severe storms passed through the Kansas City area.

"We are dealing with serious storms throughout the region," Lucas said on Twitter. "Please stay safe and attentive to the latest updates from weather advisories."

6:50 p.m. | Evergy has warned customers to expect delays as they try to restore power to those affected by the storms.

"We are experiencing a high number of outages related to extreme wind," the Evergy storm update said. "Restoration times are unavailable at this time due to the extent of the storms."

6:35 p.m. | As the thunderstorms move into Missouri, Evergy is reporting 4,498 outages affecting 154,165 customers.

Kansas City International Airport is expected to reopen in a few minutes once crews do a sweep of the runway, according to a spokesperson.

The airport tweeted out that the worst of the storm has passed, and the air traffic controllers have returned to the tower cab.

6:30 p.m. | KSHB 41 meteorologist Wes Peery tweeted that downtown Kansas City just reported a 77 miles per hour wind gust.

The thunderstorm hit the Country Club Plaza area around 6:15 p.m. and is moving northeast at 75 miles per hour. The storm contains torrential rain and winds between 50 to 70 miles per hour.

6:26 p.m. | A severe thunderstorm warning has been issued for Kansas City, Missouri, and other parts of Jackson County.

The National Weather Service has issued the warning until 6:45 p.m. This storm will contain wind gusts up to 70 miles per hour and possible quarter-sized hail.

6:25 p.m. | The National Weather Service in Topeka said on social media that they are receiving reports of the smell of smoke.

They attributed this to fires in central Kansas, and strong winds pushing the smell to the area.

6:20 p.m. | The fire along Interstate 435 is under control according to the Kansas City, Kansas, Fire Department.

The cause of the fire is not yet known, but it is undercontrol, KCKFD said in a statement.

6:15 p.m. | A fire has begun to spread along north bound Interstate 435.

In a video taken by Jennifer Bertrand, fire can be seen along the highway and lightning goes off in the background.

Bertrand said the fire was near Legends Outlets Kansas City.

6:07 p.m. | Kansas City International Airport has evacuated some of their staff.

"For their safety FAA staff in the tower cab evacuated. This means there is no Air Traffic Control for flights at the airport," KCI posted to Twitter. "There will likely be diversions and delays. Anticipate 1 hour."

5:56 p.m. | KSHB 41 meteorologist Wes Peery is currently tracking the hail storm making its way from Johnson County.

There have been reports of tennis ball sized hail in southern Johnson County and that storm system is moving into Jackson County, Missouri.

Stacy Flitton Wiegman took a photo of the hail coming down around her in Pomona, Kansas.

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KSHB 41 meteorologist Jeff Penner said the strongest of the thunderstorm is on Interstate 35 in Johnson County, and it is moving northeast at 71 miles per hour.

5:52 p.m. | The Merriam Police Department is reporting a downed tree and power lines in the 6100 block of Hadley Street.

Hadley Street is completely blocked from 61st Street to Shawnee Mission Parkway.

Merriam police said Evergy has been notified of the downed power line and asked the public to find an alternate route.

5:45 p.m. | Tennis and golf ball-sized hail might be falling from the sky in parts of Johnson County.

The National Weather Service has alerted that everyone in southern Johnson County , including Gardner and Olathe, should seek shelter because of the dangerously sized hail.

Evergy is reporting, as of 5:39 p.m., that there are 3,874 active outages affecting 109,241 customers.

5:35 p.m. | A severe thunderstorm warning has been issued for parts of Kansas City, Kansas, until 6:15 p.m.

This includes Overland Park, Lenexa, Olathe, Spring Hill, Gardner and Edgerton.

Follow our live coverage:

5:33 p.m. | The tornado warning for St. Joseph and parts of northern Missouri has expired.

5:26 p.m. | Almost 90,000 people are without power as a line of thunderstorms touches down in the Kansas City metro.

At 5:15 p.m., Evergy reported 3,30`1 active outages affecting 89,626 customers.

A power line fell on top of a school bus near Euclid Avenue and east 55th Street. No children were on the bus, and no one was injured.

5:10 p.m. | Areas in north Missouri have now been placed under a tornado warning.

The areas impacted includes St. Joseph, Missouri.

KSHB 41 meteorologist Wes Peery said these storms may be difficult to see through other storms.

He also said that signs indicate the storms will be fast and weak.

While that may be true, St. Joseph City Hall and some other facilities are already out of power, according to social media posts.

The St. Joseph Police Department has advised residents to take shelter in a basement or interior room inside.

5:00 pm. | A severe thunderstorm warning from the National Weather Service now encompasses Topeka, Lawrence and Ottawa in Kansas.

The storms have been wreaking havoc on multiple different kinds of infrastructure, including Kansas State University's satellite campus in Salinas, Kansas.

The university posted that the campus location experienced weather damage and would close for the time being.

4:41 p.m. | Over 20,000 more people are without power.

Evergy is now reporting 2,218 active outages affecting 67,896 customers.

4:30 p.m. | Power outages continue to climb as a line of thunderstorms makes its way to Kansas City.

As of 4:23 p.m., Evergy is reporting 1,680 outages affecting 40,383 customers.

KSHB 41 meteorologist Jeff Penner said that the thunderstorms are moving east toward KC at 55 miles per hour and are expected to arrive around 5:30 p.m.

4:15 p.m. | KSHB 41 Weather team has been following the storms as they make their way close to Kansas City.

KC will likely experience some thunderstorms later in the day, according to Gary Lezak.

Though the city is not expected to be impacted by tornadoes, other places in the Midwest might. Some parts of Kansas have been put on tornado watch by the National Weather Service.

4:10 p.m. | The city of Independence posted on social media about an active fire at Route 291 and Independence Avenue that involved multiple vehicles.

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The post said that multiple stations responded to the fire, and the wind conditions contributed to the situation.

"Crews have responded to more than 30 weather-related calls today," the post said. "Please be fire safe and do not move downed power lines as windy conditions are expected to continue into tonight."

4 p.m. | The high winds knocked a tree into a house in Overland Park, Kansas.

No one was at home when the tree collapsed onto the house, and no injuries were reported.

Also, power outages have spiked with Evergy reporting 1,211 active outages affecting 29,463 customers.

3:38 p.m. | The line of storms is approaching east-central Kansas. Watch live video in the player below.

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3:20 p.m. | A severe thunderstorm watch has been issued for several counties in the Kansas City area through 7 p.m., according to the National Weather Service.

2:40 p.m. | More of Interstate 70 in western and central Kansas has been closed in both directions due to the high winds and dust storm in the area.

Kansas Highway Patrol Trooper Tod posted on social media that I-70 is now closed from the Kansas/Colorado border to Russell, Kansas, an over 20 mile increase in the closure.

2:30 p.m. | Evergy is currently reporting 363 active outages with 6,832 customers affected.

2:20 p.m. | A thin line of thunderstorms has formed in central Kansas and is moving east toward Kansas City.

KSHB 41 meteorologist Jeff Penner said the thunderstorms will affect the Kansas City area between 5:30 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Wind gusts are expected to pick up to possibly 70 miles per hour when the storm hits KC.

1:55 p.m. | Evergy is reporting 292 active outages with 7,061 customers affected.

1:46 p.m. | The Kansas Department of Transportation has close I-70 in both directions from the Colorado border to exit 159 in Hays, Kansas.

KDOT posted on Twitter about the road closure stating that it is because of "low visibility and crashes blocking the roadway."

1:35 p.m. | A tornado watch has been issued for parts of northern Kansas and Missouri.

While the tornado watch does not include the Kansas City metro, Doniphan County, Kansas, and Andrew County, Missouri, are included in the watch.

The watch also includes parts of Nebraska, Iowa, South Dakota and Minnesota and will last until 8 p.m.

1:25 p.m. | Kansas Highway Patrol Trooper Ben posted on social media that troopers assigned to Troop C, which covers north-central Kansas, are actively working on four semi-truck rollovers due to the high winds.

1:21 p.m. | Evergy is now reporting 227 active outages with 7,756 customers affected.

1:20 p.m. | It seems a third semi-truck has overturned due to the high winds in Missouri and Kansas.

A Kansas state trooper posted to Twitter about another semi that rolled over.

The wreck is near McPherson, which is in central Kansas, on Kansas Highway 61.

"High winds are causing havoc on semi‘s today!" the post reads.

1:10 p.m. | The strong winds, which have tipped over two semi trucks in Missouri and Kansas Wednesday, will also impact bus routes for some schools.

Blue Valley USD 229 in Overland Park sent a letter to parents letting them know that school bus routes may take longer.

Because of the wind, the letter said buses would travel at slower speeds and avoid the highway.

12:36 p.m. | The National Weather Service in Wichita, Kansas, has released a warning regarding travel due to the high winds.

Across Kansas and the greater Midwest, the winds are whipping up significant amounts of dust.

"Blowing dust from very strong winds will create hazardous travel conditions," the NWS graphic said.

From 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., viability outside could be limited to less than half a mile.

nws graphic winds wichita

KSHB 41 meteorologist Wes Peery posted earlier about the developing dust storm that began in Colorado.

12:30 p.m. | A second semi-truck falls to the wind, this time in Kansas.

The semi-truck overturned on Interstate 70 near Ellsworth, according to a post from Kansas Highway Patrol Trooper Ben.

"STRONG winds will create more of this today," the post said.

Evergy also continues to see outages due to the wind. They are currently reporting 145 active outages with 5,128 customers affected.

12:15 p.m. | Wind gusts in downtown Kansas City are now up to 50 miles per hour.

KSHB 41 meteorologist Wes Peery posted a video one of the station's cameras being shaken by the wind.

ORIGINAL STORY | Powerful winds are making their way across Kansas and parts of Missouri.

The Kansas City area can expect wind gusts up to 65-70 miles per hour starting Wednesday afternoon and there may be a brief period of thunderstorms in the early evening.

RELATED | Very windy, warm weather Wednesday in Kansas City

The Missouri State Highway Patrol Troop D posted on Twitter a video of a semi-truck that rolled over off of Route BB in Jasper County due to the high winds.

"The driver did not have his seatbelt on and was ejected," the post said. "Please slow down, buckle up and focus on the full time job of driving."

The National Weather Service in Goodland, a city in western Kansas, posted a photograph a wall of dust moving east at the Wallace and Greeley county line.

The National Weather Service of Kansas City posted on social media Wednesday morning that the wind gusts have already exceeded 40 miles per hour and are expected to become stronger this afternoon.

In response to the high wind warning, the NWS also warned about the potential for fires to spread more easily. They advised people to properly dispose of cigarettes, avoid parking on dry grass and avoid open burning.

Other experts also suggest people photograph their roofs in case of damage and tie down outdoor decorations.

RELATED | Paulie's Penguin Playground, Olathe inflatable holiday display, prepares for strong winds

As of 12 p.m., Evergy is reporting 207 active outages effecting 4,919 customers.

Evergy tweeted out Tuesday that their crews were "prepared and ready to respond" to potential outages caused by the winds.

RELATED | Playlist: Best songs about wind to prepare for Wednesday in Kansas City