Dozens of buildings were flattened after a powerful tornado swept through the Wichita region 2022-04-30 03:54:49

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City Fire Chief Chad Russell said the tornado made landfall in Sedgwick County, Kansas, before traveling to Andover, Butler County. during a press conference. He said more than 950 buildings were in the path of the hurricane.

“We had several buildings in Andover that were badly damaged,” Russell said, adding that some homes were “completely destroyed.”

It will take years to recover, Russell said. “Unfortunately, we’ve been through this before,” he added, referring to the devastation Because of the F-5 hurricane that struck Andover on April 26, 1991. 17 people died in the aftermath of that hurricane.

Andover, a city of about 15,000 residents, is located about 14 miles east of Wichita, Kansas.

Some tornado damage in Andover, Kansas.

Resident Alaina Adkins told CNN she took shelter in her neighbor’s basement across the street from her apartment complex as the hurricane swept through.

“I couldn’t believe it,” said the 26-year-old. “It didn’t look real.” “We walked out our front door, and he was coming straight to our place,” she said.

Adkins added that the hurricane missed her home a considerable distance, but that her neighborhood had no electricity.

More than 20,000 homes and businesses in Kansas were without power in the immediate aftermath. By 4 a.m. ET, that number had dropped to about 8,500, according to poweroutage.us.

Videos and photos showed destroyed homes, overturned cars and debris strewn across streets and front yards.

In an early estimate, Jim Jonas, Wichita’s director of communications, said 50 to 100 buildings had been damaged by the hurricane.

One of those buildings was a YMCA Community Center In Andover, which suffered extensive damage, city manager Jennifer McCusland said.

14 tornadoes reported in Kansas or Nebraska

The National Weather Service in Wichita said it will send teams on Saturday to conduct damage surveys. “Our thoughts and prayers are with those affected by the hurricanes this evening,” she said.

Several tornadoes hit Kansas Friday, according to Governor Laura Kelly, who declared a catastrophic emergency.

“We’ve learned from past experience that we can’t wait for the storm to hit before we respond,” Kelly said. By taking these steps early, we can respond more quickly when counties ask for help.”

A total of 15 tornadoes — 14 of them across Kansas or Nebraska — were reported Friday, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Storm Prediction Center. Another hurricane struck Florida, the center said.

In addition, there have been more than 70 reports of wind damage and more than 50 reports of hail.

In Enterprise, Kansas, there was hail up to four inches in diameter.

On Saturday, the storm is expected to move eastward with more than 40 million people under the overall threat of severe storms.

A severe storm hazard level of 2 out of 5 has been issued and includes Chicago, Indianapolis, St. Louis and Little Rock.

“Severe thunderstorms associated with the threat of significant wind and hail damage are likely on Saturday from the lower Mississippi Valley northward to the western Great Lakes,” the Storm Prediction Center said, “and hurricanes may also occur.”

This report was contributed by CNN Paradise Afshar, Andy Rose, Taylor Ward, Alison Chenchard, and Sheriff Paget.

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