Archive for Thursday, March 16, 2006

Baldwin ducks Sunday bout of nasty weather

March 16, 2006

Baldwin City's storm sirens sounded Sunday, but the city dodged a big bullet when gale-force winds chose to develop farther north instead of here and laid siege to Lawrence.

"Boy, did we ever," Police Chief Mike McKenna said of dodging the weather bullet. "I've got a weather radio by my bed to wake me up in case of bad weather. It went off twice. One was for Emporia and I don't remember what the other one was.

"I didn't hear anything on my weather radio for us," said McKenna. "I was quite surprised to hear Lawrence had been hit so hard. Yeah, we were very fortunate. We haven't had any reports of damage."

Baldwin did experience some wind, but not the damaging type such as ripped through Lawrence, leveling trees, shearing roof tops off, snapping signs, toppling brick walls and tossing traffic lights around, as well as other large objects.

Storm sirens went off in Baldwin shortly after 8 a.m. Sunday, but didn't last long. At around 2 p.m., the sirens went off again. In addition to the storm sirens, McKenna said officers from his department as well as fire department volunteers went to warn as many neighborhoods as possible, including several mobile home parks in town.

"Police and fire both at between 2 and 2:30 went to mobile home parks," he said. "We were just very fortunate that we didn't suffer any damage."

Long-time Baldwin resident Sandy Cardens missed the siren excitement early Sunday morning. They had left to celebrate her mother's birthday in Missouri, a state where nine people lost their lives to numerous tornados.

"We sure did miss one," Cardens said of the deadly weather hitting here. "We went through Sedalia right after the tornado hit there. We saw it. We made quite a path through where all the damage was. It had been nice at my mother's. It was 70 degrees and we were out on the deck."

But, the Cardens returned to Baldwin to see that it was unscathed.

"There was no damage that I know of," said City Administrator Jeff Dingman. "It's hard to believe all of that missed us like that."

Baldwin's designated storm shelters are the First United Methodist Church near downtown, Baldwin Junior High School and Assembly of God Church, 118 Fifth St. McKenna says his officers don't tell people where to go, but to find cover.

"We tell them to go to a place of shelter," he said.

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