Storm chasers killed, thousands without power after storm
Posted On May 1, 2022
A tornado that barrelled 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 travelling back from storm chasing in Kansas were also killed in a crash on Friday, 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, according to an Oklahoma Highway Patrol report.
More than 1000 buildings were affected when a strong twister swept through Andover on Friday evening, according to authorities. In the daylight on Saturday, emergency crews found a more widespread path of destruction than was earlier estimated.
There were no reported fatalities or critical injuries from the tornado itself, despite the widespread destruction. Officials said only a few injuries had been reported.
Search and rescue operations continued on Saturday with more than 200 emergency responders from 30 agencies. Officials kept volunteers away from the damage until a secondary search of debris is done.
Andover Fire Chief Chad Russell said earlier that some neighbourhood homes “were completely blown away.”
There are homes knocked completely off their foundations and entire neighbourhoods wiped out, Mr Russell said.
Governor 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.
Energy company Evergy said about 15,000 customers lost power during the tornado and that work continued to restore electricity. Any broken gas and water lines were shut off and by noon there were no known active leaks.
The US National Weather Service sent teams on Saturday to conduct damage surveys.
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In addition to the tornadoes, large hail was reported in several towns across the Kansas Plains. Hail the size of softballs was spotted near Holbrook, Nebraska, and Enterprise, Kansas, according to the National Weather Service and storm spotters.