UPDATE: Tornado warnings force many across KAKEland to take shelter

By: Jason Tarr - Email
By: Jason Tarr - Email
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WICHITA, Kan. -- Two Kansas school districts were unable to hold class Monday, because storms left them without power.

The Kinsley-Offerle schools called off classes Sunday evening, after being told they would not have power restored until mid-morning. The Lewis school district reached a similar decision Monday morning.

A KAKE viewer in Mount Hope reports her town has 2.5 inches of rain, on top of a fierce hailstorm Sunday night.

EARLIER: Peering out of her basement window on a ladder, Angela Tremain watched as a storm with a potential tornado neared her Larned home Sunday evening.

If you ask her, it was too close for comfort.

"When it was moving in, we saw a wall cloud coming straight toward our house and it looked like a formation was starting," Tremain said. "We thought it was definitely going to hit us so the first thing we wanted to do was get to safety."

The fifth grade teacher says she took shelter in the basement with her husband, her son, and their three dogs. They were in the basement for about 15 minutes before they noticed the storm had passed.

Thankfully, no tornado had touched down in the town.

"It was a good feeling," Tremain said. "I was like, 'Whew! That was close!'"

Nearby in Larned, 14-year-old Alexis Kimble and her family were just emerging from their bathroom after the storm passed.

"I was kind of freaked out," Kimble said.

Kimble says she, her 11-year-old brother, and her grandma went into the bathroom because they thought they'd be safest there during the storm.

"We put blankets in the bathtub and sat in there," Kimble said.

These kinds of experiences were shared by thousands across Kansas Sunday night as severe weather rolled through. People in at least five counties found themselves under a tornado warning during the evening.

While many faced a threat of a tornado, many others also faced damaging hail.

Laura Hamilton saw large hail at her home in Ensign, Kan. near Dodge City.

"All the sudden, the hail started getting bigger and the next thing we know we have golf ball-sized hail in our front yard," Hamilton said.

She says while they appreciated the rain, the hail was not welcomed by her family which farms wheat and corn in the area.

She said as of Sunday night, they hadn't discovered any damage to the crops. But, a couple of the windows of their home had been shattered by the large hail.

Overall, little damage had been reported across the state by late Sunday evening. Stafford County was among those reporting downed power lines.

Most people say they're feeling lucky it wasn't worse.

"It's pretty amazing that it's Mother's Day and Mother Nature is out there to get ya tonight," Hamilton said.

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