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Cleanup Begins In Eureka In Wake Of Tornado

Westar Energy

Gov. Sam Brownback declared a state of disaster emergency in Greenwood County after an EF2 tornado touched down in Eureka around 10 p.m. Thursday night. A second, EF3 tornado touched down just northwest of Eureka.

Cleanup has started on damage to the small Kansas town of around 2600 people, about one hour east of Wichita.

Credit Google Maps

The governor’s declaration allows the use of state resources and personnel to respond to the tornado. About 50 homes and businesses were damaged, as well as a nursing home; no injuries or fatalities have been reported.

Greenwood County Emergency Management Director Levi Vinson says everyone has been accounted for, and residents were allowed to return to their homes. Volunteers began work this afternoon.

“The outflow of support has been immense, not only from the local population but the surrounding communities and counties and various agencies throughout the state," Vinson says.

He says Westar Energy has been on the scene responding to some damaged power lines. The American Red Cross has opened a shelter at the Eureka United Methodist Church for people affected by the tornado.

The latest from AP:

Gov. Sam Brownback has signed a State of Disaster Emergency declaration for Greenwood County after a tornado struck the southeastern Kansas town of Eureka last night.

The declaration will allow the use of state resources and personnel to assist with response and recovery operations. Officials say the tornado caused significant, widespread damage, but no injuries nor fatalities have been reported. There are reports of multiple power outages in the county.

Greenwood County Emergency Management Director Levi Vinson says there was significant structural damage, including damage to a local nursing home, mobile homes and a barn. Overnight, firefighters were going home to home to check on residents. People displaced from their homes have been taking shelter at the Eureka United Methodist Church.

The National Weather Service says a tornado warning for Greenwood County was issued just after 9:00 p.m. last night. The tornado hit Eureka about 45 minutes later.

Kansas Division of Emergency Management staff will coordinate assistance to conduct in-depth damage assessments and assistance for debris management. A KDEM regional coordinator was sent to the county to provide assistance to local and county officials.

At this time individuals are being asked to not self-deploy to the area. A Volunteer Reception Center will be coordinated through the United Way of the Plains.


Follow Nadya Faulx on Twitter @NadyaFaulx.

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Nadya Faulx is KMUW's Digital News Editor and Reporter, which means she splits her time between working on-air and working online, managing news on KMUW.org, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. She joined KMUW in 2015 after working for a newspaper in western North Dakota. Before that she was a diversity intern at NPR in Washington, D.C.