Wichita city councilman caught in reported tornado


CHEROKEE COUNTY, Kan. (KSNW) – A Wichita city councilman was caught in a storm that reportedly produced a tornado on Monday.

James Clendenin said he was driving on U.S. 400 near Pittsburg, Kansas around 4:15 p.m. when conditions took a turn for the worse.

“It got so intense, so I decided to pull over because we had hit some hail and some intense rain,” said James Clendenin.

Clendenin said not long after he pulled over, he received a tornado warning alert on his phone.

“All of a sudden I saw some swirling rain come toward me. It just got so intense. It was like somebody threw white out all over my windows. I couldn’t see. The wind was rocking the vehicle and kind of lifted us up a little bit, at least, that’s what it felt like.,” he explained.

Clendenin said the storm did not directly hit him, but he definitely felt and saw something unusual.

“You could tell the wind was a little bit different especially when the car kind of got light underneath me,” he said.

Once the storm passed, Clendenin got back on the road toward Wichita. That’s when he said he noticed the damage.

“Just down the highway from us, there was a truck overturned, cars were in ditches, not right next to me, limbs ripped off of trees. It was pretty intense,” he said.

The National Weather Service said a tornado was reported on the ground about 9 miles north of Columbus, Kansas.

The Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office also said Monday’s storms resulted in some damage in the northern part of the county. 

The city of Pittsburg is reporting a tornado touched down south of town, taking a path from 180th and 400 HWY in Cherokee, KS, and moving northeast toward 270th and 530th Ave. east of Pittsburg, KS. They say no injuries have been reported at this time.

Damage reported includes damage to outbuildings and secondary structures, shingles blown off houses, wind damage, large trees down, and downed power lines. Westar Energy is responding to downed power lines and addressing power outages.

Search and rescue crews have been activated. Local first responders are checking residences to make sure everyone is accounted for. Anyone needing to locate loved ones or report missing residents should call (620) 230-5625.

Residents should stay away from Langdon Lane and the surrounding area effected. Current weather hazards include downed power lines, debris, lightening and heavy rain. More weather risks are headed our way with a second round of thunderstorms in the forecast for this evening.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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