UPDATE: Tuesday, May 24, 2011
The town of St. John is in shock as it learns of the deaths of two of its residents.
The Stafford County Undersheriff says a tornado came through the area around 6:00 Tuesday evening just north of town. That's when a 17 year-old boy, his mother and older sister were driving north on highway 281. They pulled over to find shelter. A huge tree fell on top of their suv, killing the boy and his mom. The sister was taken to a Great Bend hospital for treatment.
Friends of the family tell KAKE News the boy was very involved in drama, music and the Catholic church in St. John. Teens quickly started talking about the accident on facebook.
The sheriff says the storm caused some power outages and tore the roofs off several homes.
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Strong storms moving into Central Kansas claimed the lives of two people just before 6 p.m. tonight. Initial reports by Kansas Highway Patrol authorities confirm two people were killed as a tree was propelled into their van by high winds near St. John on Highway 281 at mile marker 96 in Stafford County. The highway is being shut down due to storm damage, according to KHP.
Stafford and Barton County have storm damage, including damage to homes, and downed power lines and trees. KHP reports an apartment complex was hit with lightning and fully engulfed in flames northeast of Great Bend.
Barton County officials have issued a local disaster declaration. There are numerous reports of power outages and wind damage in several Central Kansas counties.
The Kansas Division of Emergency Management is monitoring the storm situation at the State Emergency Operations Center in Topeka to assist counties with potential requests for assistance throughout the night.