Storm severely damages homes, flattens church in Harveyville

HARVEYVILLE, Kan. - The Wabaunsee County Sheriff said about 40 percent of the town of Harveyville, about 90 miles southwest of Kansas City, was severely damaged in a tornado that touched down Tuesday night.

One person remained in critical condition Wednesday, a spokesman for the National Weather Service said Wednesday afternoon.

Friends of the man in critical condition told 41 Action News the tornado lifted his house off the foundation and dropped it on his body. He and his wife had taken cover in the stairwell of the basement. She ran to get help, but he was trapped in the debris for hours.

It wasn't until the sun came up Wednesday that residents in the small central-Kansas town were able to really get a grasp of the damage left behind by an EF-2 tornado that touched down about 9 p.m. Tuesday.

The tornado was part of a powerful storm system that pounded parts of central Kansas and moved east through Missouri, Illinois and parts of Indiana and Kentucky.

The weather service determined the tornado had a maximum width of 150 yards..

An emergency official there says tornado sirens never sounded Tuesday night, because the National Weather Service never issued a tornado warning.

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback declared a state of emergency late Tuesday that covers Wabaunsee County, southwest of Topeka.

Five more people were treated and released from area hospitals, the NWS spokesman told 41 Action News.

"It is quite hectic," said Bill Beasley of the American Medical Response for Shawnee and Wabaunsee counties, who said nine ambulances were dispatched to the scene.

The American Red Cross is assisting and officials have set up a shelter at a local high school.

Service trucks from area fire stations and emergency management departments were dispatched to Harveyville.

If you would like to volunteer in Harveyville, contact United Way of Flint Hills .

Earlier, the National Weather Service reported brief tornado touchdowns southwest of Hutchinson.

Elsewhere in central Kansas, trained spotters and law enforcement reported hail the size of golf balls and winds estimated at 70 mph Tuesday night north of Hillsboro in Marion County.

Farther east, Pittsburg State University, in the southeastern corner of the state, canceled classes Wednesday.

A school spokesman said the main problem was a power outage across the campus.

The storm damaged at least three buildings on the east side of the campus.

Strong winds peeled back part of the roof on the Weede Physical Education Building, according to the spokesperson.

Winds also caused damage to the Kansas Technology Center and the student recreation center. About 7,300 students attend the university.

CNN News and The Associated Press Contributed to this Report


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