Tornado that devastated northeast Kansas rated EF-4

Posted: Updated:
South of Lawrence (Chris Neal/The Topeka Capital-Journal via AP) South of Lawrence (Chris Neal/The Topeka Capital-Journal via AP)
LAWRENCE, Kan. (KAKE) -

A preliminary report from the National Weather Service says Douglas County was hit by an EF-4 tornado Tuesday evening.

A vicious storm tore through the Kansas City area, spawning tornadoes that downed trees and power lines, damaged homes and injured more than a dozen people.

The largest tornado reported so far was an EF-4 with peak winds reaching an estimated 170 mph. The tornado touched down near Lawrence and reportedly stayed on the ground for 31.82 miles before lifting in Southern Leavenworth County.

The Douglas County Emergency Management agency said Wednesday three people had serious injuries. It warned people to stay away from storm-damaged areas.

“My thoughts are with all Kansans impacted by the destructive tornadoes in Douglas, Leavenworth, Mitchell, Russell, Trego, and Wyandotte Counties last night," Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly said.

The governor said her office will be working with local emergency management officials to get people the support they need. 

“Kansas is experiencing a historic month of extreme weather – from tornadoes to heavy rain and flooding to severe thunderstorms. This is challenging for our emergency personnel and local officials across the state. I want to sincerely thank all of our local, state, federal partners and voluntary organizations who are working very hard, long hours to keep people safe, assist communities and give neighbors a place to shelter. The State of Kansas is grateful.

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