A suspected tornado that moved through parts of Kansas damaged several buildings, injured several people and left more than 6,500 people without power, officials said Saturday. Officials said the suspected tornado moved through parts of southeast Wichita and Andover on Friday night.
Andover Fire Chief Chad Russell told a news conference early Saturday morning that 50 to 100 buildings were damaged in Sedgwick County, although it was not immediately clear how many buildings were damaged. damaged at Andover.
Russell said that in some neighborhoods homes “have been completely swept away.” He added that there was “no one that we know of waiting for us to do rescues”.
Officials said only a few injuries were reported. In Sedgwick County, three people were injured, including a woman who was seriously injured. Russell said no injuries have been reported in Butler County, but a secondary assessment will be done Saturday morning.
He said some neighborhoods were “damaged enough for houses to be completely destroyed” and cited areas that had suffered “very severe damage”.
City Hall also suffered damage, which hampered “some of our efforts,” Russell said. Other buildings were reportedly damaged, including the Dr. Jim Farha Andover YMCA and Prairie Creek Elementary School.
Governor Laura Kelly has declared a state of emergency for the hardest hit areas. The statement makes state resources available to assist local jurisdictions in their response and recovery efforts in affected areas statewide.
Large hail was reported in several Plains towns. Hail the size of softballs has been spotted near Holbrook, Nebraska, and Enterprise, Kansas, according to the National Weather Service and storm watchers.
Meteorologist Reynolds Wolf of The Weather Channel said Saturday morning that strong storms are expected from southern Illinois into the southern plains. One to two inches of rain are possible through Sunday in parts of the Plains, and much of the Midwest could see an inch of rain as well.
Thunderstorms and severe storms are possible Sunday further east in parts of Kentucky, West Virginia and Virginia.