All original images (C) Steve Douglass unless otherwise noted.

All original images (C) Steve Douglass unless otherwise noted. Permission required for commercial use or publishing.

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Sunday, April 26, 2009

Storms sweep through Midwest, damage several homes

6 hours ago

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Severe thunderstorms raked parts of the Midwest on Saturday, killing a motorcyclist, spawning tornadoes that damaged several homes and sent race fans fleeing, snarling air traffic and knocking out power.

Lightning struck a group of motorcyclists on U.S. 24 between Perry and Granville in northeastern Kansas, killing a 45-year-old Lawrence man, Jefferson County Sheriff Jeff Herrig said.

A man riding next to the victim was treated and released at a Topeka hospital, Herrig said. The other five cyclists, all members of Bikers Against Child Abuse who were returning home after visiting children they had helped in the past, were not injured.

Tornadoes touched down in southern Leavenworth County, Mo., northwest of Linwood, and in Butler County, Kan. No injuries were immediately reported.

Power lines were downed and several homes and outbuildings were damaged or destroyed around Reno township near Interstate 70, said Mike Stewart of the Leavenworth County emergency management office.

Julie Adolphson, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Pleasant Hill said most of the damage reported after the storm was moderate, but some outbuildings between Linwood and Tonganoxie were destroyed.

Storms packing hail and lightning led the Kansas Speedway to suspend the NASCAR truck race 52 laps into the race.

About 30 minutes after the race was called, tornado sirens went off at the track and a local TV station showed a twister on the ground to the southwest. Most of the fans had already left by then, but others sought cover.

The race will resume on Monday.

One home was damaged and one outbuilding was destroyed in Butler County, in south-central Kansas, authorities said.

In Enid, Okla., search and rescue crews went door to door to check on residents after an apparent tornado touched down late Saturday. There were no reports of serious injuries, but the storm ripped off roofs, tipped over trailers and downed power lines. The storm damaged the roof of the county expo center and battered cars and trailers parked there for a home show.

Thunderstorms rolling through northeastern Illinois caused about 100 flights cancellations at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago and delays of more than two hours, according to the city's Department of Aviation. Flights were delayed about an hour across the city at Midway International Airport, but no major cancellations were reported.

Storms packing winds of up to 80 mph brought down power lines in southern Michigan, leaving about 123,000 homes and businesses without electricity.

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