GLADSTONE, Mo. --
A violent storm system moved through the Kansas City area early on Friday morning, damaging homes and businesses and injuring at least three people.
The hardest hit area was a three-block area near North 77th Street and Euclid Avenue in Gladstone. Roofs were reported torn off homes and apartment buildings.
KMBC photojournalist Neeley Schmitz reported seeing insulation in trees and tree limbs down. He said stunned residents were walking around surveying the damage.
Schmitz said three people were taken to hospitals with minor injuries. Emergency crews went house to house searching for people who might have been trapped in the debris.
Gladstone's public information officer Richard King described the damage as widespread.
"There are a number of commercial structures from 72nd Street and North Oak south along North Oak to about 65th Street that have sustained tremendous amounts of damage, with some structures that have been completely collapsed," King said. "We have reports of houses with no roofs left on them, widespread heavy tree damage with power lines down and roads blocked."
King said trees and building debris have blocked some roads. He urged drivers to use caution when leaving for work or school.
He said school buses will be operating, but they will be moving slowly. The Gladstone Community Center will not be open Friday because it has no power.
In Kansas City, homes near 112th Street and Northeast Cookingham Drive were also damaged by high winds. One home under construction was blown apart.
In Independence, an Arby's fast-food restaurant was sheared off off its foundation.
KMBC's Chief Meteorologist Bryan Busby said a squall line moved through at about 1:45 a.m. Wind gusts of up to 80 mph were reported. Busby said those are more than hurricane-force winds. It was not yet clear if a tornado had touched down.
KCP&L reported 40,000 customers lost power at the height of the storm. Electricity had been restored to about 9,000 customers by 6 a.m. Aquila reported more than 11,000 customers were in the dark.
KMBC reported that St. Pius X High School and Oak Hill Day School are closed because of the power outages.
Tornadoes Touch Down Briefly Thursday
On Thursday evening, one tornado was confirmed to have touched down near Plattsburg, Mo. The Clinton County Sheriff's Department said some trees were knocked down, but there were no reports of damage to houses or barns.
Two tornadoes were also reported in Cass County. Authorities said there was no damage.
Hail the size of golf balls was reported in several towns in both Kansas and Missouri.
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