A suspected tornado that tore through parts of Kansas damaged multiple buildings, injured multiple people and left more than 6,500 people without power, authorities said Saturday. Officials said the suspected tornado moved through portions of southeastern Wichita and Andover on Friday night.
Andover Fire Chief Chad Russell said during a Saturday morning news conference that between 50 and 100 buildings were damaged in Sedgwick County, though it was not immediately known how many buildings were damaged in Andover.
Russell said that in some neighborhoods houses “were completely blown away.” He added that there was “no one that we know of waiting for us to make rescues.”
Authorities said only a few injuries had been reported. In Sedgwick County, three people were injured, including a woman who suffered serious injuries. Russell said no injuries had been reported in Butler County, but a secondary assessment would take place Saturday morning.
He said some neighborhoods were “damaged enough that houses completely collapsed” and cited areas that sustained “very serious damage.”
City Hall was also damaged, hampering “some of our efforts,” Russell said. Other damaged buildings include the Dr. Jim Farha Andover YMCA and Prairie Creek Elementary School.
Governor Laura Kelly declared a state of disaster emergency for the most affected areas. The declaration makes state resources available to assist local jurisdictions with response and recovery efforts in affected areas throughout the state.
Large hail was reported in several towns in the plains. Baseball-sized hail was detected 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 to the southern plains. One to two inches of rain is possible through Sunday in parts of the Plains, and much of the Midwest could also get an inch of rain.
Thunderstorms and strong storms are possible Sunday farther east in parts of Kentucky, West Virginia and Virginia.