From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Storm damages 30 homes

Date 29 May 1996 16:06:06

"UNITED METHODIST DAILY NEWS" by SUSAN PEEK on Aug. 11, 1991 at 13:58 Eastern,

Note 2979 by UMNS on May 29, 1996 at 15:23 Eastern (4117 characters).

SEARCH: storm, damages, homes, Lee's Summit, Aldersgate,
Methodist, Turnbough

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Produced by United Methodist News Service, official news agency of
the United Methodist Church, with offices in Nashville, Tenn., New
York, and Washington.

CONTACT: Linda Green                              265(10-71){2979}
         Nashville, Tenn. (615) 742-5470              May 29, 1996

30 seconds of violence destroys 
homes in Missouri but claims no lives

                 by United Methodist News Service

     Thirty seconds of violence hit Lee's Summit, Mo., during the
Memorial Day weekend, destroying 13 homes, damaging 110 others,
but claiming no lives.
     That made it a "night of miracles" for the Rev. Mike
Turnbough, pastor of Aldersgate United Methodist Church. At 11
p.m. Sunday, May 26, the thunderstorm with 125 mile per hour winds
swept across the suburban Kansas City community which has a
population of 50,000.
     "It was incredible that people didn't get hurt," Turnbough
said.  "In many of the homes children's rooms were obliterated but
the children were not there. Coincidence can only go so far!"
     With no warning, except for the "popping of ears," he said
the storm hit, demolishing houses and leaving devastation
     He said the well-defined storm delivered a "knife-edged cut"
across the community.  Numerous people required stitches and one
person broke an arm but no serious injuries were reported. 
     The homes of 30 Aldersgate families were severely damaged or
destroyed.  Carolyn Mulder, director of the church's daycare
center lives on the edge of the storm's path. After she saw the
damage the neighborhood had sustained, she offered the church as a
     Twenty families reported to the church and the Red Cross
responded immediately with cots. The Salvation Army also assisted
in relief efforts. An organization called "Heart Teams," a group
of Aldersgate members which provides care whenever needed,
organized a telephone network where people to call to check on
others in the community. 
     The congregation, neighbors and restaurants provided meals
for those seeking refuge at the church. 
     As Turnbough checked on the 750-member Aldersgate
congregation the next day, he heard horror stories of members
trying to reach their basements while debris chased them down
their hallways and steps.
     He told of one member who was on the second floor of his home
when the roof and walls surrounding him disappeared.  "It's
amazing that he wasn't blown away but into a closet instead,"
Turnbough said.  The church's music director and his wife lost
their entire house.
     The walls and roof at another house were blown away but a
baby's crib remained.  "There was nothing holding the baby up
except a couple of inches of flooring," Turnbough said.
     The pastor said similar stories are being told throughout the
congregation and community.  "We all were very lucky," he said.
     Lee's Summit sustained the worst damage from waves of
thunderstorms and tornados that lashed across the Plain states
from Texas into Nebraska and to the Great Lakes May 26-27. Damage
in Lee's Summit was estimated at $10 million.   
     The heavy rains that crossed the Plains states of Nebraska,
Kansas and Oklahoma and Texas were a welcomed sight for farmers
who are experiencing a severe drought.
     "Spirits were lifted after the rains," said Carole Otto, who
along with her husband Harold operate a farm in Lincoln, Neb.
"Things were looking bleak but the rains have improved the outlook
for this year's crops," she said. "But we still have the summer to
go through."
     A few days later, on May 28, tornadoes touched down in Brooks
and Mt. Washington, Ky, both south of Louisville, severely
damaging or destroying approximately 600 homes and causing
moderate damage to hundreds more along a seven-mile path. Early
reports indicated a few serious injuries but no fatalities.      
                               # # #


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