Tornadoes and storms hit U.S. Great Plains, injure two in Kansas

Reuters News
Posted: May 25, 2016 11:16 AM

By Suzannah Gonzales

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Tornadoes ripped through the U.S. Great Plains, badly damaging and destroying about 20 houses in Kansas, a day after two people were injured there in storms, local media and authorities said on Wednesday, and more dangerous weather is expected.

Intense storms are possible across the region on Thursday and Friday, the National Weather Service (NWS) said, with large hail and damaging winds potential primary hazards.

On Wednesday, at least one tornado tore through rural areas in Dickinson County, northern Kansas, an CBS-affiliated TV station reported, although the NWS had not confirmed the weather event's status.

No injuries were reported on the second day of dangerous weather in the region, and local government officers and rescue workers were making door-to-door checks on residents, the Kansas Highway patrol said.

The NWS said that 14 tornadoes sightings were reported on Wednesday in Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma, where storms destroyed structures, snapped power lines and damaged railtrack.

Two people were injured in Ford County, Kansas, on Tuesday and taken to hospital for treatment, interim county administrator and Ford County spokesman, J.D. Gilbert, said. They were sent home on Wednesday morning, he said.

As many as six unconfirmed tornados also hit an area west of Dodge City, Gilbert said, destroying homes and a county building housing offices and landfill equipment. Farms and ranches were also damaged, he said.

A tornado was also reported in Oklahoma, just west of Tulsa, along with severe storms in the area on Tuesday evening, Ariel Cohen, meteorologist at the NWS Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma, said.

There were also preliminary reports of tornados across northeast Colorado associated with storms late on Tuesday afternoon and early evening, Cohen said.

In addition, severe storms with large hail and damaging winds hit central and eastern Wyoming and as far north as Michigan's Upper Peninsula, Cohen said.

(Additional reporting by Brendan O'Brien; Editing by Louise Ireland)