Tornadoes throughout northeast Kansas Wednesday night resulted in two deaths, numerous injuries, and significant damages to homes, businesses and buildings in several counties.
A woman was killed in the town of Chapman in Dickinson County. She was found outside in a yard. A man was killed outside the town of Soldier in Jackson County. He was found outside of his mobile home.
A tornado estimated to be a half mile wide hit the town of Chapman approximately 10:20 p.m. touching down on the southwest corner, moving through the center of town, and on to the northeast side of Chapman. Ambulances were brought in from nearby counties to assist in Chapman, and more ambulances were brought in through MERG, the Medical Emergency Response Group in the south central region.
State support to Chapman
Local officials in the town of Chapman requested the state provide an incident management team to assist them with response along with additional law enforcement to help with security. The Kansas National Guard is providing security support and also supplying a generator to run the water supply to ensure firefighters have water. Gas and power have been shut off in the town as a precaution to prevent incidents. Local officials have also asked for assistance with removal of downed trees and power lines from streets. Entrance to the town has been closed to the public to ensure the emergency crews have access in and out of the area.
The Kansas Department of Transportation’s Communications on Wheels is operational in Chapman to support emergency communications needs and serve as the incident command communication system. The Kansas Highway Patrol’s mobile command has also arrived in Chapman.
According to the American Red Cross, 60 homes were destroyed in Chapman, another 28 sustained major damage, and 30 more have minor damage. A shelter has been established in Sterl Hall in Abilene and victims will be brought to the shelter by bus. Another shelter has been opened at Webster Conference Center (in Salina). Preliminary reports indicate at least 200 people have been displaced.
In Jackson County, where one individual died, at least four homes were destroyed according to the American Red Cross. Homes were heavily damaged east of Soldier along 270th Road. A shelter was established at the fire department in Soldier. Highway 62 is closed to the public and the county is checking on residents door to door. Many trees and power lines are down across roads. The tornado path traveled from 254 & C Road to Hwy 16 and angled north to 286 & I Road.
In Riley County, the city of Manhattan sustained extensive tornado damages resulting in some injuries. The tornado stretched from the southwest side of Manhattan, near the Manhattan Airport, and continued northeast through the center of town. Trees and power lines are down. Kansas State University sustained damage to several buildings. At least 100 people are seeking shelter in Portoff Hall in Manhattan according to the American Red Cross. A preliminary search has been completed, and the Kansas Highway Patrol will conduct a search and rescue flyover at daylight.
The Saline County Emergency Manager is reporting damage to at least two structures with many downed power lines and downed trees and many power outages. Structures damaged in Saline County include Phillips Lighting plant, a hotel, the Crestwood Cabinet plant, and a retirement home. No injuries are reported at this time.
State EOC activated
The State Emergency Operations Center in Topeka was activated Wednesday evening to assist counties and will remain operational 24/7 as long as necessary