State of emergency declared after apparent tornado - KCTV5 News

State of emergency declared after apparent tornado hits Harveyville, KS

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As the sun comes up Wednesday, emergency management crews will be out doing another search, making sure everyone is accounted for after an apparent tornado that struck Harveyville, KS.

The small town near Topeka took a serious hit from the storms as 40 to 60 percent of its structures were destroyed.

Ten people were injured, two with life threatening injuries, but it is believed 100 percent of the people are accounted for.

Those inured, including a man pulled from a collapsed home, were flown by medical helicopter to Stormont-Vail Hospital in Topeka.

Most residents are believed to be staying with neighbors, friends and relatives. The town has a population of about 275.

The town's only church was completely destroyed after the rare February storm struck at 9:03 p.m. Tuesday.

First responders went door-to-door to confirm no one was missing or killed.

Dozens of law enforcement officials are on the scene. Harveyville is about 40 miles south of Topeka in Wabaunsee County.

Dave Sterbenz, director of Shawnee County Emergency Management, told KCTV5 that a man was pulled from a collapsed house at 11:10 p.m. The man suffered critical injuries and was rushed to the Topeka hospital.

Authorities said that altogether, four people were trapped and had to be rescued.

The storms were part of a punishing line that formed, prompting the National Weather Service to issue tornado watches and severe thunderstorm warnings for parts of Kansas and Missouri.

Gov. Sam Brownback issued a state of emergency for Wabaunsee County just before midnight Tuesday. The governor's office also reported downed power lines and trees.

An emergency shelter was established at Mission Valley High School. Most residents have been forced to stay in the shelter because of the extensive damage.

WIBW's Melissa Brunner shared pictures on Twitter showing the storm's damage. Cars were tossed like toys and debris and wood littered the ground where houses had stood earlier Tuesday.

Highways in and out of Harveyville are closed because of the damage and to allow emergency crews access.

The National Weather Service did not issue a tornado warning for Harveyville so tornado warning sirens did not sound. The area was under a severe thunderstorm warning and a tornado watch when the storm struck.

The National Weather Service reported brief tornado touchdowns southwest of the Hutchinson area before 7 p.m. Tuesday amid violent thunderstorms with high winds. Reno County emergency management reported minor wind damage to a house, with vehicles and stock trailers flipped over.

Elsewhere in central Kansas, trained spotters and law enforcement reported hail the size of golf balls and winds estimated at 70 mph Tuesday night north of Hillsboro in Marion County.

Damage was also reported near Pittsburg, KS, and Lamar, MO. Other areas of eastern Kansas and southern Missouri saw damage from storms.

The line of storms brought punishing winds to the Kansas City area, downing tree limbs. Wind gusts topping 60 mph occurred throughout the area, including downtown Kansas City. One gust topped 70 mph. Hail and scattered power outages also were reported.

A tornado warning was issued for Douglas County after 10 p.m. Tuesday based on radar images. A tornado wasn't reported in that county or the immediate Kansas City area.

For more information, go to KCTV5's weather page at

Share YOUR PHOTOS with us of the storms. Click here.

Staff members Clare Otto, Liz Manniger and Micah Bray contributed to this report.

Copyright 2012 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.

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