- A tornado hit Kansas and caused a wave of destruction.
- Massive structural damage has been reported following the tornado touch-down in Kansas.
- The authorities had issued a weather warning.
A powerful tornado unleashed terror as it ripped through Kansas on Friday night, causing massive damage to dozens of buildings. According to initial reports, the twister devastated the town of Andover and left a huge trail of destruction. Previously, the authorities had issued a weather warning.
The tornado struck around 8:50 p.m. CST and partially destroyed the YMCA and Capital Federal Amphitheater in Andover. A few hours later, Kansas Governor Laura Kelley declared a state of emergency. “We have learned from past experience that we cannot wait for the storm to hit before responding,” she told KWCH, according The Sun.
State of emergency declared after tornado hits Kansas
“By taking these steps in advance, we are able to react more quickly when counties ask for help,” added the governor, while some users posted videos on Twitter showing the widespread destruction in residential areas.
The storms have also affected nearby cities, including Wichita. In fact, Wichita Fire Chief Tammy Snow told CNN that 12 people have suffered minor injuries. “Right now we are rescuing people from their homes because they are unable to move through the rubble.”
Tornado ripped through multiple towns in Kansas
Another tornado touched down in Rosalia, Kansas, forcing emergency crews to block off streets. The United Way Plains organization reported that between 50 and 100 structures were damaged, with the Andover YMCA receiving a direct hit. “The Andover YMCA sustained significant damage as a result of the storm that hit the Andover area tonight,” read a statement from the Andover YMCA and quoted by The Sun.
“We are thankful that all staff and members sheltering at the branch at the time of the storm were not injured,” he added. However, he said, “the branch will be closed until further notice. We will keep everyone informed as details become available.”
More than 13,000 people without electricity
City Manager Jennifer McCausland told the news outlet that “several houses and cars were damaged,” adding that “the biggest fight right now is getting the roads clear.” Wichita Mayor Brandon Whipple activated the Sedgwick County Operations Center to assist in Andover.
St. Vincent de Paul Church in Andover opened its doors to area residents who lost power. And according to Evergy’s outage map, there are more than 13,000 people without power in Wichita and Andover. Most roads and intersections are blocked due to downed power lines and debris, but multiple crews and agencies are already assisting with cleanup efforts.
Drivers asked not to go out on the streets
“The entire Wichita Police Command has been directed to assist with the handling of the emergency. PLEASE stay off the streets if possible for our emergency vehicles,” Whipple told KWCH12.
A tornado warning was issued at 5:30 a.m. for Phillips County and Harlan, Nebraska. At 6:40 p.m., the warning was extended to Abilene, Enterprise, and Carlton in Dickinson County, according to The Sun’s report updated early Saturday. (To see the videos, click on each of the published images.)
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