Strong Winds Damage Pittsburg, Close Schools

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Strong wind gusts have damaged a Pittsburg hotel so badly it had to be evacuated, knocked out power to the city's hospital and closed its schools.

Wind gusts of up to 70 mph were recorded late Tuesday night, causing roof damage and traffic-snarling power outages.

Because of roof damage to Pittsburg's Econo Lodge, 25 guests were taken to another hotel.

After losing power, Pittsburg's Via Christi Hospital began operating on its generator system. Via Christi spokesperson Michael Hayslip says no patients had to be moved and that the hospital sustained no visible damage.

Pittsburg State University and the city's school district canceled classes because of the damaging winds and power outages. The storm tore off a section of roofing at one elementary school.

Just to the west in Labette county, strong winds have injured three people, damaged homes and toppled utility poles.

Labette County Emergency Management Director Larry Steeby said Wednesday that the injured were inside a house when the storm struck.

Steeby says 10 to 12 houses, including some mobile homes, were damaged. The most serious damage occurred about three miles north of Altamont and three miles south of Parsons.

As of mid-morning, Westar Energy was reporting that more than 2,000 customers were without power.

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