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Leawood family was a room away when tornado ripped side off of house

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LEAWOOD, Kan. -- An EF-0 tornado ripped through a Leawood neighborhood – and ripped off the side of a home, all while the family who lives there was just feet away.

Arun Rajagopal was downstairs with his wife, Anjana, while their 10-year-old daughter, Anika, was upstairs in her room across the hallway in their home near 145th Terrace and Chadwick.

With no tornado siren, the sound of strong winds was the only sign something was wrong.

“It became like a scream or a howl,” Arun said, “and then the shearing, wrenching sound when the wall got ripped out, and then it kind of quietened down, with some hail after that.”

First responders initially thought straight-line winds were to blame, but on Tuesday the National Weather Service in Kansas City confirmed it was an EF0 tornado that struck two dozen homes within a two block radius.

Firefighters deemed the Rajagopal’s home by far the most damaged.

“It was just clean as if you took a saw and cut the wall out, it was just a clean cut,” Arun said. “It was a surprise, really. More than a shock, I would say it was a surprise.”

No one was hurt and it was Anika who first noticed the damage.

“She walked out of her room and said, ‘There`s no wall,’” Anjana recalled.

But to them, the damage is nothing when compared to what they could've lost.

“We were very thankful that all three of us are safe and standing here to talk to you today,” Arun told FOX 4’s Katie Banks.

The family said they are thankful for all of the hard work of the first responders, as well as the police department, who will now keep a close eye on their home as they make repairs.

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