Lightning strike hits tree, starts fire, knocks out power in Westwood

UPDATED: The school district canceled classes Friday at Westwood View in anticipation of extended power outages that could last through mid-afternoon.

A fire raged in Westwood after a lightning strike. Photo courtesy Anthony Scimeca.
A fire raged in Westwood after a lightning strike. Photo courtesy Anthony Scimeca.

Much of Westwood and the surrounding area was dark Thursday night after a lightning strike near 48th Street and Rainbow Boulevard hit a tree, started a large fire and knocked out power for hundreds of homes.

As of 8:45 p.m., traffic signals along Shawnee Mission Parkway were dark at Rainbow Boulevard, Belinder and Mission Road. KCP&L’s outage map shows nearly 40 percent of the customers in the 66205 area code were without power.

Westwood-Outage

The National Weather Service has put a flash flood advisory in effect for the area until 11 p.m. Thursday night:

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN PLEASANT HILL HAS ISSUED A

* FLASH FLOOD WARNING FOR… EASTERN WYANDOTTE COUNTY IN NORTHEAST KANSAS… NORTHEASTERN JOHNSON COUNTY IN EAST CENTRAL KANSAS… NORTHWESTERN JACKSON COUNTY IN WEST CENTRAL MISSOURI… SOUTHERN CLAY COUNTY IN WEST CENTRAL MISSOURI…

* UNTIL 1100 PM CDT

* AT 744 PM CDT… LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICIALS REPORTED FLASH FLOODING OCCURRING ACROSS CENTRAL PORTIONS OF KANSAS CITY… PARTICULARLY AROUND BRUSH CREEK AND SOUTHWEST BOULEVARD WHERE WATER RESCUES ARE ONGOING. TWO TO THREE INCHES OF RAIN HAVE FALLEN SINCE 6 PM ACROSS CENTRAL PORTIONS OF THE KANSAS CITY METRO… AND UP TO AN ADDITIONAL INCH MAY FALL THROUGH 9 PM AND WORSEN ONGOING FLOODING.

* RUNOFF FROM THIS EXCESSIVE RAINFALL WILL CAUSE FLASH FLOODING TO OCCUR. SOME LOCATIONS THAT WILL EXPERIENCE FLOODING INCLUDE… BLUE SPRINGS… INDEPENDENCE… KANSAS CITY… KANSAS CITY KANSAS… LEAWOOD… LENEXA… MERRIAM… MISSION… NORTH KANSAS CITY… OVERLAND PARK… PRAIRIE VILLAGE… RAYTOWN… SHAWNEE.. AND WESTWOOD HILLS.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

EXCESSIVE RUNOFF FROM HEAVY RAINFALL WILL CAUSE FLOODING OF SMALL CREEKS AND STREAMS… URBAN AREAS… HIGHWAYS… STREETS AND UNDERPASSES AS WELL AS OTHER DRAINAGE AREAS AND LOW LYING SPOTS. DO NOT DRIVE INTO A FLOODED ROADWAY!