tornadoes

Kansas Public Radio

Emergency officials are assessing the damage in Kansas after a massive tornado rolled across the north-central part of the state, destroying at least two dozen homes.

The tornado, nearly a half-mile wide at times, remained on the ground for nearly 90 minutes as it churned near the towns of Solomon, Chapman and Abilene.

The twister cut a path 28 miles long and crossed Interstate 70, the main east-west highway across Kansas.

Edward O’Neal and Christopher O’Neal

Crews are assessing damage after tornadoes swept through the Dodge City area Tuesday night. Damaging hail was also reported. Emergency officials say displaced families are in need of help.

Red Cross officials have set up a client casework area in the Ford County Government Center in Dodge City to help people in need. Corey Becker, a Red Cross disaster volunteer for western Kansas, says families, including elderly people and parents of a one-week-old baby, have all lost their homes.

Chris Fiebig / National Weather Service

The National Weather Service office in Wichita is using social media to recreate the timeline of a deadly tornado outbreak 25 years ago.

An F5 tornado ravaged McConnell Air Force Base and then dropped on top of a populated area in Andover on April 26, 1991.

There were seventeen deaths and more than 200 people were injured.

Meteorologist Eric Metzger says the weather office used Twitter Tuesday to re-enact the atmospheric conditions and events that led to the tornado.

weather.gov

The American Red Cross is prepared for the possibility of severe weather this afternoon. As KMUW’s Sean Sandefur reports, the state has 700 volunteers who handle disasters.

Twenty-five years ago an F5 tornado ripped through Andover and Haysville, killing 17 people. Today there is a threat of another massive spring storm.

Michelle Jantz, director of the Midway Kansas Red Cross, says her organization has hundreds of volunteers ready to respond to disasters in Kansas and throughout the Kansas/Nebraska and Southwest Iowa region.

Lauren Ayres, flickr Creative Commons

Kansas is holding a statewide tornado drill today as part of Severe Weather Awareness Week. KMUW’s Abigail Wilson reports that for most of Kansas, the drill will take place at 6:30 p.m. this evening.

Lauren Ayres, flickr Creative Commons

Kansas' 124 confirmed tornadoes in 2015 were 83 more than the previous year, tying for the fourth highest number since 1990, according to the National Weather Service's preliminary data.

Eric Metzger, a meteorologist for the weather service's office in Wichita, says moisture from a strong El Nino was a possible factor in 2015's higher number of tornadoes because it influences climate systems to produce more tornadoes, The Hutchinson News reported. Kansas typically has between 70 and 110 tornadoes every year.

Brenda Buller, http://hesston.digitalsckls.info

On March 13, People who live in Hesston will be marking the anniversary of the tornado that destroyed their town 25 years ago.

First responders credit the advance warning about the “F5” tornado for the low number of injuries and fatalities.

KMUW’s Deborah Shaar has the story.

Hesston EMS Director Russ Buller was a volunteer firefighter at the time the tornado was gathering strength in Reno County and heading toward Hesston in Harvey County on March 13th, 1990.

Two organizations are getting $25,000 each from the Kansas Health Foundation to help residents in the Baxter Springs area recover from the EF-2 tornado that damaged 100 homes and 12 businesses last month.

The American Red Cross Midway-Kansas Chapter and the Community Foundation of Southeast Kansas will use the money to help the community bounce back from the April 27th tornado.

The groups will provide food, shelter, clothing and emotional support for people affected by the storm.

The Kansas Department of Revenue is taking steps to help residents replace critical documents lost in Sunday’s tornadoes.

The agency is waiving fees on replacement driver’s licenses, vehicle titles and vehicle registrations for residents of Cherokee, Bourbon and Linn counties.

An executive order signed Monday by Governor Sam Brownback also waives the fees for replacement birth certificates and marriage licenses issued by the state health department.

Dozens of buildings were destroyed and 25 people were injured Sunday in the Cherokee County town Baxter Springs.

Twenty-five people were injured and dozens of homes and businesses were destroyed by a tornado in Baxter Springs around 6pm on Sunday.

Southeast Kansas Incident Management Team spokeswoman Kari West says one person died, but it was not clear whether the death was related to the storm.

Cherokee County emergency manager Jason Allison says the tornado was roughly two- to three-blocks wide, and cut diagonally through the southeastern town of about 42 hundred people.

Allison says 60 to 70 homes were destroyed, as well as 20 to 25 businesses.

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