Families in Clay County slowly begin to clean up after EF-2 tornado destroys homes

KEARNEY, Mo. -- Neighbors off 138th Street say it was a weather event they'll never forget.

The tornado that spun through their streets left residents scurrying for safety -- and some homes unusable. Now, they've brought in trucks and heavy gear to help with the cleanup.

About three-quarters of the roof of one home is gone, thanks to the EF-2 tornado that tore through Clay County on Tuesday. Pieces of that roof are scattered around the neighborhood. The owner of that home said it was a loud, terrifying evening.

Winds peaked at 115 mph. Trees are down all around the property, as well as at homes across the street. Janee Dollar's house down the road has roof damage, too.

But the mystery of three missing storage barns is more attention-grabbing. Where those barns have gone adds to the chaos on Dollar's street.

"The one house, caddy-corner up the ways, is really bad, condemned, I believe," she said. "Their whole top portion is taken off. Trees uprooted and thrown. There's sheet metal everywhere. It's pretty damaging."

Dollar said she's never seen anything like this in her life.

To the east a bit in Excelsior Springs, residents are seeing similar damage. Some residents on Washington School Road said they saw sheet metal and pieces of trees flying through the air.

Some homes on the rural road were left in ruins.

Workers are now using heavy equipment to take down the remaining shell of the house where Nichole Goergen grew up. She said her parents now have nothing left.

They hid in their basement, thinking their home would be fine. The walls are all that remain of their home now.

Goergen said she fears what might have happened if they hadn't taken shelter.

"I think maybe they're still in shock," she said. "To look into a bedroom and see that it's mostly OK, with just a little water damage and then, to come out to see your house completely flattened -- that's a little disheartening."

That EF-2 tornado moved through Clay County from just before 8 p.m. until about 8:20 p.m. Now, neighbors say they're just happy no one was injured.

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