Archive for Sunday, April 15, 2001

Baldwin City ducks tornado threat

April 15, 2001

Tornado warning sirens sounded in Baldwin City around 7 p.m. Saturday, but the funnel clouds spotted to the west of the city apparently never touched ground. Despite strong winds, heavy rain and hail, the city escaped any heavy damage.

The tornado warning was issued after spotters saw funnel clouds to the west of the city shortly before 7 p.m., according to officials with Douglas County Emergency Preparedness. Apparently the funnel clouds were around the Overbrook area some 25 miles to the west of Baldwin.

That led Baldwin officials to sound the sirens. It would be the first of three times the sirens sounded. By 7:30 p.m., the worst of the storm had moved through leaving streets flooded with water and some hail.

Residents took precautions against the storm, including the customers and employees of Walt's Pizza Cafe in downtown Baldwin. They moved to the basement at the First United Methodist Church a block north of the pizza place. By 8 p.m., business was back to normal and customers were flocking in for both food and news.

Baldwin City Fire Chief Allen Craig was just driving into town when the warning was sounded on the police radio prior to the sirens being sounded. Craig confirmed that apparently none of the funnel clouds reached the ground.

"We were lucky," Craig said. "Knock on wood."

Baldwin would be hit by another round of heavy rain, hail and wind around 9 p.m., but again there was no damage. Douglas County remained in a tornado watch until midnight and a thunderstorm warning until 2 a.m. About an inch of rain fell throughout the storm.

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