Kansas man who lost wife in previous tornado hit again, home damaged

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LINWOOD, Kan. (AP/KAKE) -

Dennie Roberts emerged unharmed physically from Tuesday's EF-4 tornado in Linwood, Kansas. 

But he choked up a little when he talked about what just happened. He thought of his wife, Sherry, who died of injuries from a tornado not far away in 2003.

When the storm came this time, he was at home watching TV. It was a cable show, so they didn’t interrupt with the weather report.

It was his son who called him: “Put your butt in the basement,” the son said.

That’s what Roberts did. He crouched there, on the phone with his son.

“We’ll see if the good Lord blesses me,” he said.

“He did,” Roberts said later, getting in his car to drive away and meet some friends for dinner. “He carried me through it.”

The tornado touched down near Lawrence and reportedly stayed on the ground for 31.82 miles before lifting in Southern Leavenworth County.

The Douglas County Emergency Management agency said Wednesday three people had serious injuries. It warned people to stay away from storm-damaged areas.

“My thoughts are with all Kansans impacted by the destructive tornadoes in Douglas, Leavenworth, Mitchell, Russell, Trego, and Wyandotte Counties last night," Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly said.

The governor said her office will be working with local emergency management officials to get people the support they need. 

“Kansas is experiencing a historic month of extreme weather – from tornadoes to heavy rain and flooding to severe thunderstorms. This is challenging for our emergency personnel and local officials across the state. I want to sincerely thank all of our local, state, federal partners and voluntary organizations who are working very hard, long hours to keep people safe, assist communities and give neighbors a place to shelter. The State of Kansas is grateful.