About 50 people huddled in an Overland Park, Kan., store's freezer to wait out the storm. Even at Kansas City Hall, in Kansas City, Mo., out of the direct path of the storm, hundreds crowded into the basement, first floor and stairwells for a half hour.
And other good news: The oppressive weather system that began the day before with killer tornados in Oklahoma and Kansas has finally moved off.
Wednesday's tornados were unlike the monster that plowed through Joplin, staying on the ground for six miles.
In meteorological terms, these storm clouds were called "cold-core low-topped supercells," quite capable of producing many dancing funnel clouds.
The strongest hit came in Sedalia, where a quarter- to half-mile-wide tornado crumpled a trailer park, damaged homes and businesses and injured 15 to 25 people.
Larry Ward, Sedalia's acting police chief, described the injured as "walking wounded."
Ward said residents were more alert because of the deadly Joplin, Mo., tornado on Sunday.
"It was on their minds, it's been on everybody's minds throughout the state, throughout our country," he said. "Folks are aware of it, and they know if the alarms are sounded, they need to take cover."
In Johnson County, Kan., the National Weather Service took reports of six to 10 brief tornado touchdowns late in the morning, mostly in Overland Park.
Death toll in three states rises to 15
Violent storms with winds of more than 150 mph slammed into a chunk of the central U.S. overnight Tuesday into Wednesday, killing at least 15 people in Oklahoma, Kansas and Arkansas, flattening homes, crushing cars and ripping apart a rural Arkansas fire station. The high-powered storms arrived Tuesday night and early Wednesday, just days after a massive tornado tore up the southwest Missouri city of Joplin and killed 125 people.
Source: The Associated Press