Friday Live Blog: No fatalities, only minor injuries reported in devastating Andover tornado
WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Storm Team 12 is tracking severe weather through central and eastern Kansas. Powerful storms produced tornadoes, including a large tornado that hit Andover.
11:55 p.m. Gov. Laura Kelly has declared a State of Disaster Emergency for the April 29 tornado. 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 in areas impacted statewide.
“We have learned from past experience that we can’t wait for the storm to hit before we respond,” Gov. Kelly said. “By taking these steps early we are able to more quickly react when the counties ask for assistance.”
The Kansas Division of Emergency Management activated the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) in Topeka to a “Level 2 - Enhanced Steady State.” KDEM staff will remain in contact with county emergency managers for additional information as severe storms continue in many areas. Affected counties are still assessing damages.
We are continuing to evaluate the damage related to the severe weather in southeast Wichita/Sedgwick County. Only minor injuries have been reported at this time. The Sedgwick County Fire Department has deployed Taskforce 5 to support Butler County and Andover Fire Departments.
Earlier in the David Dennis, Chairman of the Board of County Commissioners, has given a verbal declaration of emergency to activate Sedgwick County Emergency Operations Center and the Local Emergency Operations Plan. This declaration will help facilitate state aid.
11:20 p.m. Friday evening’s tornado left at least one person with serious injuries, according to firefighters. The injury was located near 31st Street South and 127th Street East in Sedgwick County. No one is trapped.
The gates to the Southeast High School parking lot have been opened for people seeking refuge.
11:00 p.m. We’re learning more about the number of structures damaged in Friday evening’s tornado. The United Way Plains reports, preliminarily, that 50 to 100 structures were damaged and the YMCA in Andover took a direct hit.
“The Andover YMCA suffered significant damage as a result of the storm that hit the Andover area this evening. We are thankful that all of the staff and members that took shelter at the branch at the time of the storm, were not injured. The branch will be closed until further notice. We will keep everyone updated as details become available,” reads a statement from the Andover YMCA.
There are reports of downed power lines and debris in the roadways.
As of this update, there are no reports of injuries.
10:20 p.m. St. Vincent De Paul in Andover has opened up to those who may be without power or a home Friday night. The church is located at 123 N. Andover Road. Roads are blocked on most major intersections due to the downed power lines and large debris. Multiple agencies are assisting with tonight’s tornado.
According to the Evergy outage map, more than 13,000 people are without power in Wichita and Andover due to the tornado.
9:35 p.m. Wichita Mayor Brandon Whipple confirmed the Sedgwick County Operations Center has been activated to assist Andover.
“All Wichita Police Command have been directed to assist with emergency management. PLEASE stay off the streets if possible for our emergency vehicles,” Whipple said.
US-54 (Kellogg) is closed at 159th Street (the Sedgwick-Butler County line) because of debris.
9:25 p.m. As a dangerous storm continues to slam parts of Butler County, there is a tornado confirmed near Rosalia. In Andover, emergency crews have southbound Andover Road blocked at 13th Street.
8:50 p.m. A dangerous, tornadic storm continues to impact Butler County with a tornado confirmed that’s impacting El Dorado. We’re hearing further reports of potentially widespread damage in Andover and have crews on the scene. There is extensive damage reported along Andover Road. There is heavy damage confirmed to the Capital Federal Amphitheater in Andover Central Park and to the Andover YMCA where photos show a portion of the building collapsed.
8:30 p.m. A tornado that touched down near Andover was spotted on the ground in the city. There are reports of potentially widespread damage along Andover Road from about 13th Street North south to just south of Kellogg.
7:55 p.m. A Storm Team 12 Chief Meteorologist Ross Janssen said a severe thunderstorm warning has been issued for portions of Butler and Sedgwick counties may be canceled early. He said the storm is having a hard time staying together. It could produce pea-sized hail and heavy rainfall.
7:30 p.m. Reports of wind damage are coming in from Ottawa County. A trained spotter reports 6 to 12-inch downed tree limbs and shingles that have been blown off roofs. The tornado threat is now shifting northeast of Chapman and out of the Storm Team 12 coverage area.
6:55 p.m. A confirmed tornado has been located five miles south of Enterprise, moving northeast at 30 mph. The storm is also south of Chapman If you live in this area, you need to seek shelter immediately. Get to a basement, or if you are unable to get below ground, go to the innermost part of your home and wrap yourself in blankets or anything to cover your head and protect yourself from flying glass and debris. A tornado warning remains in effect for Abilene, Chapman, and Enterprise KS until 7:15 p.m.
6:50 p.m. A storm that dropped two-inched size hail is moving out of the Storm Team 12 coverage area. A severe thunderstorm warning was issued for the area until 6:45 p.m.
6:40 p.m. A tornado warning has been issued for Abilene, Enterprise, and Carlton in Dickinson County until 6:45 p.m. Storm Team 12 Chief Meteorologist Ross Janssen says circulation is showing up east of Highway 15, about 8-10 southeast of Abilene. Rain and hail (larger than 1-inch in diameter) are still possible with this storm. Those south of Enterprise need to be moving into a place of safety.
5:30 p.m. A tornado warning has been issued for Phillips County, and Harlan, Nebraska, through 5:30 p.m. The Phillips County Sheriff’s Office says the
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