Tornado kills one, damages 200 houses in Kansas

Reuters News
Posted: May 22, 2011 9:33 AM
Tornado kills one, damages 200 houses in Kansas

KANSAS CITY (Reuters) - Tornadoes overnight in Kansas killed one person and damaged at least 200 homes, and have resulted in a state of emergency being declared for 16 counties, an emergency management official said on Sunday.

Known damage was centered around the town of Reading, said Kansas Division of Emergency Management spokeswoman Sharon Watson.

Initial reports "indicate there are 200 homes in the town and surrounding community that have some type of damage ranging from minor to severe ... Another 20 homes have been destroyed," she told Reuters by phone.

A fatality had also been confirmed early on Sunday morning from the twister that hit the town of around 250 people and the surrounding area, and there were reports of at least five injuries, Watson said.

Damage from tornadoes and storms in other parts of the state was still being assessed, she said, but included at least one destroyed mobile home and broken windows in cars and buildings, mostly from hail and strong winds.

There was potential for more storms on Sunday, Watson said.

Elsewhere in the nation, meteorologists have forecast "violent" thunderstorms across the Mississippi River and Ohio River valleys on Sunday, with most of the strongest storms beginning in the afternoon.

Central Texas, central Arkansas, northern Mississippi and western Tennessee are also expected to experience severe weather.

Meteorologists said the main threats will be large hail and damaging wind gusts, but flash flooding and isolated tornadoes also could be problems.

"Cities under the gun include St. Louis, Springfield, Chicago, Dallas and Abilene," an report said.

(Writing by Jerry Norton; Editing by Colleen Jenkins)