DENVER — It has been dark and stormy week for a swath of the Plains.
Tornadoes have been touching down in the central states since Monday and the streak continued Thursday.
Tornado warnings remain in effect in parts of Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Iowa and Missouri with the possibility of “couple tornadoes,” large hail up to two inches in diameter and wind gusts up to 70 mph, according to the National Weather Service. Several of them will expire late Thursday.
A low grade tornado ripped through parts of Brazos County, Texas, about 12:30 p.m. Thursday. No one has been reported injured, but several buildings suffered roof damage and trees were uprooted, according to the county’s emergency management office.
A nearby prison was damaged by the high winds or a tornado, KBTX reported. No one was injured and all inmates and staff were accounted for, the news station said.
The stormy weather disrupted at least two airports. On Thursday, passengers evacuated Kansas City International Airport because of a tornado warning.
David Enarson was traveling home to Chicago when he was evacuated to the tunnels at the airport. He said people were calm and they were in the tunnels about 35 to 40 minutes. The airport’s marketing manager tweeted that people were in garage tunnels to keep safe.
After they were given the all-clear, the security line was long as passengers headed back to board their flights, said Enarson.
In another disruption, Denver International Airport had a ground hold on flights after a thunderstorm. The runways had to be cleared of hail before air traffic could get moving again.
Thunderstorms get group stranded
On Thursday, the stormy weather left 19 Clemson University students stuck in a cave.
The South Carolina group and four tour guides were exploring Hidden River Cave in Kentucky. The severe thunderstorm caused the water levels to rise, leaving the group stranded inside. They called for help and were rescued, according to state police.
The weather kept emergency workers busy.
After being doused in seven inches of rain, people called for help after getting trapped in cars in Montgomery County, Texas.
“We’ve probably had well over 100 rescues of people from cars,” said Darren Hess, deputy emergency management coordinator in the county. More rain is expected in the area, but so far there are no reports of injuries, he said.
Thunderstorm warnings are in place for parts of Kansas, Texas, Missouri and Oklahoma. The National Weather Service warned of potential hail damage to roofs, cars and trees.
Damage from this week’s storms
Earlier storms left significant damage — especially in Dickinson County, Kansas. That Wednesday storm destroyed at least 28 homes, according to Kansas Adjutant General’s Department. No deaths or serious injuries have been reported, according to the release.
Gov. Sam Brownback visited the area Thursday and took an aerial view at the impact of the tornado that spanned roughly a quarter of a mile. Photos showed mangled trees, flattened houses and farmhouses shredded into paper-like pieces.
But the weather may not let up for the county, as more storms have been predicted into Saturday.
On Tuesday, another tornado struck Chapman, Kansas, and stayed on the ground for about 90 minutes, injuring people and destroying 15 to 20 homes, according to meteorologist Derek Van Dam. That was one of 12 twisters that occurred, he said.
Several people in Ford County, Kansas, reportedly were hurt in Tuesday’s storms, said Andrew White, a spokesman for the National Weather Service.