Straight line winds and a powerful thunderstorm ripped its way through Excelsior Springs on Friday afternoon. It left over 8,000 citizens without power, including the city’s hospital, three grocery stores, and the city’s water pump station. With tree damage spread across the city, in some areas power poles had been snapped in two and were laying across streets and intersections.
Quickly power became the community’s biggest challenge and continues to be a problem for many still today, Sunday. Those who were worried about their medications being kept cold or being able to run a CPAP machine to help residents breathe. City leaders and Fire Chief Joseph Maddick immediately got to work establishing cooling stations throughout the community for residents to seek relief from high temperatures. With power being out at the water station, citizens were asked to help conserve water until power could be restored. Luckily, enough conserved that the towers were able to be refilled without issuing a boil order.
Citizens reported that the grocery stores all had citizens shopping at the time in walk in coolers to protect them from the storm. The manager at Aldi said that they could feel the storm around the whole building. That he had never experienced something like that before. One glass door to the store was completely blown out and has yet to be fully replaced. The store still has not had power restored at Sunday evening. When power is restored there will have to be time for employees to throw out food that has spoiled and restock.
Excelsiorites flocked to Liberty where hotel rooms were booked throughout the City by nightfall. Restaurants there were overrun with business because most restaurants in Excelsior were without power. The West Jesse James business district did not have their power restored until late Sunday.
Despite the chaos happening locally, the 15th Annual Wine Festival was set to begin on Saturday morning. Lovers Lane had its own set of messes to clean up but thank to volunteers and electricity being available, the festival was able to happen! It ended up being a beautiful day for tourists coming into the area to enjoy the annual event that was cancelled last year due to the virus.
Many residents worked together throughout the day to offer help to neighbors. By 4:00pm at the City’s Yard Waste Disposal Center Mike Britt reported there were over 515 loads of debris that had been brought in. There was a continual cycle of trucks hauling limbs going in and out all day. The Center will be open from dawn to dusk all this week and into next weekend. It is located at 1300 S Marietta St and is free for all citizens of Excelsior Springs.
News teams descended upon the city, covering damage and talking to local citizens. Channel 9 met with Mayor Sharon Powell for an interview and then followed up with stories throughout the evening. Click here to see footage from the interview.
As power was restored citizens then had the challenge of cleaning out their refrigerators and freezers of all their spoiled food. Fire Chief Maddick arranged for there to be food delivered to the station for distributing Monday morning at 10:00am for families who have lost groceries due to the storm. There will be enough for 100-150 families. Citizens are being advised to throw their spoiled food out with trash pickup, which is operating on a regular schedule this week despite Monday being Flag Day. If your trash pick up is later in the week, you can take your garbage to Courtney Ridge Landfill in Sugar Creek at 2001 Rte 291. Their hours are Monday-Friday from 5:30am-3:30pm and Saturdays from 6:00am-1:30pm.
Many citizens shared stories of Good Samaritans that gave their time to help others in need:
Other citizens shared damage that occurred from their properties throughout town. Thanks to all who shared: