Storms and tornado rip through Kansas

A tornado that barreled through parts of Kansas destroyed or damaged hundreds of homes and buildings, injured several people and left more than 15,000 people without power, officials said Saturday.

In addition to wreckage from the tornado itself, three University of Oklahoma meteorology students traveling back from storm chasing in Kansas were also killed in a crash Friday evening, according to officials.

Nicholas Nair, 20, of Denton, Texas; Gavin Short, 19, of Grayslake, Illinois; and Drake Brooks, 22, of Evansville, Indiana, died in the crash shortly before 11:30 p.m. Friday, according to an Oklahoma Highway Patrol report.

The three were in a vehicle being driven by Nair southbound on Interstate 35 when the vehicle hydroplaned and was struck by a tractor-trailer rig in Tonkawa, about 85 miles (137 kilometers) north of Oklahoma City, the report said.

A statement released by OU said: “The university is devastated to learn of the tragic passing of three students. Each were valued and loved members of our community.”

Andover Fire Chief Chad Russell said during a news conference early Saturday morning that 50 to 100 buildings were damaged in Sedgwick County, though it was not immediately known how many buildings were damaged in Andover.

Russell said in some neighborhoods homes “were completely blown away.” He added that there was “no one that we know of waiting for us to do rescues.” 

Officials said only a few injuries had been reported. In Sedgwick County, three people were injured, including one woman who suffered serious injuries. Russell said no injuries had been reported in Butler County, but a secondary assessment would be conducted Saturday morning.

APTOPIX Yankees Royals Baseball
People walk across a rain-soaked parking lot after a baseball game between the Kansas City Royals and the New York Yankees Friday, April 29, 2022, in Kansas City, Mo. The game was called after eight innings due to weather.

Charlie Riedel / AP


He said some neighborhoods were “damaged enough that houses were completely blown down” and cited areas that suffered “very bad damage.”

City Hall also sustained damage, which hampered “some of our efforts,” Russell said. Other buildings reportedly damaged included the Dr. Jim Farha Andover YMCA and Prairie Creek Elementary School.

Gov. Laura Kelly declared a state of disaster emergency for the hardest hit areas. The declaration makes state resources available to help local jurisdictions with response and recovery efforts in areas impacted statewide.

Large hail was reported in several towns across the Plains. Hail the size of softballs was spotted near Holbrook, Nebraska, and Enterprise, Kansas, according to the National Weather Service and storm spotters.

Meteorologist Reynolds Wolf of The Weather Channel said Saturday morning that strong storms are expected from Illinois south 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 get an inch of rain as well.

Thunderstorms and strong storms are possible on Sunday further east in parts of Kentucky, West Virginia and Virginia.



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