Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly declared a state of disaster emergency after several tornadoes (at least 14 estimated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Storm Prediction Center) manifested their force producing big destruction in the area. The declaration activates the disaster response and recovery portions of the Kansas Response Plan, authorizing state resources to augment local jurisdictions with the response and recovery efforts. Dozens of structures were leveled in the city of Andover, but many others from about 900 were damaged, according to officials. One of those buildings was a YMCA community center and the Prairie Creek Elementary School. A lot of cars were destroyed. Local police reported that multiple major intersections were blocked due to debris and downed powerlines. A shelter has been set up at St. Vincent Catholic Church in Andover.
The recovery will take years, the city’s fire chief Chad Russell estimated during a news conference. Fortunatelly, only a handful of injuries were reported by authorities early Saturday. Between others, Five people, including two firefighters, had been treated by Butler County EMS for cuts, scratches and falls. More than 20,000 homes and businesses in Kansas were without power in the immediate aftermath. Several other tornadoes also touched down Friday across Nebraska and Kansas as a large storm system swept eastward from the central Rockies into the Midwest. In Shelton, Nebraska, train cars were pushed off their tracks by strong straight-line winds. Asthe storm was moving a level 2 out of 5 risk for severe storms has been issued and includes Chicago, Indianapolis, St. Louis and Little Rock.