A dangerous tornado system spared the Kansas City metropolitan area on Tuesday following the National Weather Service's warning of a "tornado emergency" but injured at least 11 people in a neighboring county.
The National Weather Service warned residents of the heavily populated area straddling the Kansas and Missouri border to take shelter after a tornado touched down on the western edge of the city.
Meteorologists later cancelled the warning for Kansas City, but urged caution for potential hail, strong winds and flash flooding as another round of storms moved into eastern Kansas and western Missouri.
The Kansas City forecast office originally issued a “tornado emergency” for the popular entertainment area known as the Legends Outlets for shopping near where the Kansas Speedway hosts NASCAR races.
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Travelers at Kansas City International Airport took shelter in parking garage tunnels as a precaution, the airport tweeted. Storm debris from miles away rained down on the airport, forcing air traffic controllers to delay all flights until just after midnight local time.
"We apologize for the inconvenience," the airport said in a tweet at 12:20 a.m. "A tornado destroyed homes and businesses miles away & debris rained down onto the airport. Our crews had to clean it up in order to be safe."
A large and destructive tornado injured at least 11 people in Douglas County, just west of Kansas City. At least one person sustained serious injuries, Douglas County Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Jenn Hethcoat told the Lawrence Journal-World.
Downed power lines, trees, and debris blocked off roads in Lawrence, the home to the University of Kansas about 35 miles from Kansas City, local police tweeted. A tornado also hit the community of Linwood, damaging multiple houses, according to local media reports.
Before canceling its warning, the weather service had expanded the tornado warning to include all of the Kansas City area including the part of the city in Missouri.
“The heart of KC is in this tornado warning! This is a dangerous situation. TAKE SHELTER NOW!” the Kansas City office tweeted.
As the system moved into Missouri, the weather service urged residents of areas such as Excelsior Estates and Mosby to take shelter from confirmed tornadoes. Damage reports were not immediately available, but about 13,000 customers lost power throughout the state.
The White House issued a state of emergency in 18 Kansas counties Tuesday evening while storms swept east towards Kansas City.
The tornado sightings are part of a massive severe weather system in the central United States that has produced tornado activity for eight straight days. Preliminary reports show 27 tornadoes struck mainly Kansas and Missouri on Tuesday, the Storm Prediction Center said.
Contributing: The Associated Press
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Dangerous tornado touches down in Kansas City; severe weather moves east into Missouri