Leawood is still working to clean up debris caused nearly three weeks after a tornado rolled through the city and on its path through Johnson County and other parts of the Kansas City metro.
Background: On Wednesday, June 8, an EF1 tornado touched down three miles west of Lenexa at 1:10 a.m. and skirted 95th Street through Overland Park and Leawood, jumping the state line in Jackson County, Missouri, ultimately staying on the ground until about 1:30 a.m.
- With the maximum wind speed of 100 miles per hour, its path length was 14 miles, and its maximum width was 125 yards, officials with the National Weather Service in Kansas City said.
Remaining debris: According to Leawood Public Works director David Ley, who spoke to the city council last week, approximately 20 properties in northern Leawood between 92nd and 98th Street still have debris or trees that need to be removed.
- The remaining debris is a mixture of yard waste, bundle debris that is ready for pickup and large debris — including tree limbs and trunks — that is not ready for pickup.
- “The large debris would need to be cut up into much smaller pieces in order to fit in our dump trucks,” Ley said at Tuesday night’s Leawood City Council meeting.
The delays: It is the large debris that has given the city issues and caused delays in the cleanup process, according to Ley.
- Several of the larger pieces of waste created by the storm would not fit in the city’s dump trucks, causing the city to have to rely on outside resources.
- “We did not complete a curbside pickup either, and one of the reasons for that is the earliest we could have gotten a contractor on board… would have been late [during the week of June 13],” Ley said.
What’s been done: Although some debris remains, Ley said public works has been working to clean up the city since the day the tornado touched down.
- Like Lenexa and Overland Park, Leawood opened its own debris drop off site at the Parks Maintenance Facility in Leawood City Park the weekend following the storm, and recorded a total of 101 vehicles that came and disposed of debris.
- Staff have also transferred 13 dump truck loads of debris to Kansas City Composting in Belton, Missouri, he said.
Future plans: Ley said to mitigate the issues the city has had with the clean up, future plans have been made on how to handle this type of situation if it were to ever happen again. They include:
- making the decision for a drop site within 24 hours after the event,
- utilizing both a drop site and a curbside pickup program
- and gathering volunteers from organizations, like Church of the Resurrection, to cut debris and move it to the curb for elderly and disabled residents.