An episode of tornadoes and violent thunderstorms hit the central United States on Friday, causing extensive damage. In Andover, on the outskirts of Wichita, Kansas, a violent tornado damaged many buildings and injured several people. Across the country, 15 tornadoes were recorded in 24 hours.
In 24 hours, 15 tornadoes hit the United States, including 14 recorded in the center of the country, in Kansas and in Nebraska, reports the Storm Prediction Center, the American meteorological service which is working on storm forecasting.
In Kansas, on Friday evening, a violent tornado touched down in the town of Andover, located on the outskirts of Wichita. Gusts of up to 260 km/h were recorded by local meteorological agencies. In a few minutes, the column of wind swept away cars and infrastructure. More than a thousand buildings were damaged, reports local media Kansas City Star.
20,000 homes without electricity
While CNN says twelve people were slightly injured, Associated Press (AP) reports only three injuries, including one seriously, in neighboring Sedgwick County. According to AP, three Oklahoma University meteorology students, ages 19 to 22, died in a car crash Friday night while tracking tornadoes.
More than 20,000 homes were still without power Saturday morning in Kansas, according to the news channel.
Law enforcement will continue to circle the city, knocking door to door to survey the damage. Local authorities are also trying to clear the roads, and are calling on residents not to use them unless necessary. “Please respect people who need help,” local police wrote on Facebook.
State Governor Laura Kelly visited the scene on Saturday and declared a state of emergency.
“The people of Kansas are resilient and we will get through this together. My administration will work with local authorities to help residents affected by the tornado recover,” she pledged.
Kansas, in the center of the United States, is located in the middle of “tornado alley”, an area particularly affected by extreme weather phenomena, including tornadoes.