Cleanup is expected to begin after a tornado that officials say stayed on the ground for about 90 minutes damaged or destroyed about 20 homes in rural northern Kansas.
Dickinson County fire district one chief Paul Froelich told The Associated Press early Thursday that crews have completed secondary searches of the damaged properties. He says no injuries or fatalities have been reported from the tornado that swept through a 23-mile stretch of rural Dickinson County late Wednesday.
He says residents had plenty of warning ahead of the storm, which likely attributed to the lack of injuries.
He says debris management and disposal will begin later Thursday morning. In addition to cleaning up the damaged homes, crews will also have to remove scores of trees blocking rural roadways.
Officials say a large tornado damaged or destroyed about 20 homes in a rural area of northern Kansas and came within a mile of hitting a small town.
There were no immediate reports of injuries or fatalities from the tornado that the National Weather Service said was on the ground for about an hour and a half Wednesday night.
Weather service meteorologist Chad Omitt says the heart of the twister at one point was just about a mile south of Chapman, a town of about 1,400 that was devastated by a deadly tornado in 2008 but spared on Wednesday.
Emergency crews were still assessing damage in Dickinson County and making sure everyone was OK early Thursday.
Search and rescue operations were underway in Dickinson County Wednesday evening after a large tornado stayed on the ground for about an hour and a half.
The tornado formed in rural northeast Saline County at around 7:00 in the Niles area. It missed the communities of Solomon and Abilene as it slowly moved to the east. It was bearing down on the community of Chapman, and a rare Tornado Emergency was issued for the community. The National Weather Service warned people to take cover as what it called a “catastrophic” tornado approached. The tornado ended up narrowly missing Chapman, passing just to the south of town.
There were other homes, outbuildings, trees, power poles, farm machinery, and vehicles it did not miss. It even destroyed a section or railroad tracks between Abilene and Chapman.
Emergency responders were assessing damage, and checking for injuries. The Kansas Highway Patrol said that about 20 homes were damaged, but there are no immediate reports of injuries.
Trooper Ben Gardner, a spokesman for the patrol, says troopers were checking rural areas in Dickinson County where it is believed 20 homes were damaged Wednesday night, some significantly.
Gardner says troopers were going from home to home to make sure everyone is OK. There were no immediate reports of injuries or fatalities.