(Wichita) A powerful tornado destroyed or damaged dozens of homes and buildings in Kansas, injuring several people and killing 6,500 residents of the Force.
Posted at 3:51pm
Officials said the tornado advanced into parts of southeastern Wichita and Andover by Friday night. Andover Fire Chief Chad Russell told a news conference early Saturday morning that 50 to 100 buildings were damaged in Sedgwick County.
Mr Russell claimed homes were “completely destroyed” in some areas of the city.
Rescue teams have already circled the debris in Andover. There are completely destroyed houses and entire districts that have been wiped out, but no serious injuries, said the fire chief.
Town Hall was also damaged, hampering “some of our efforts”, Mr Russell added.
National Weather Service crews worked Saturday to determine the magnitude and strength of the tornado, meteorologist Kevin Darmofal said.
Flor and Aldo Delgado said they were praying in the basement of their Andover home when a tornado swept overhead, destroying their home and cars.
The couple had taken refuge in the basement after looking out the window on Friday night and saw the tornado begin to form.
“The lights started flickering and eventually went out and within a minute the whole house started shaking and it was so loud. We started to feel water hitting our faces and there was only dust everywhere. It felt like a minute before she was right over us,” Aldo Delgado recalled.
Flor Delgado said she heard her home being torn apart as they prayed for her safety, the Wichita Eagle reported.
“It was then that I realized there was absolutely nothing we could do. I knew my husband felt it too because he was calm and comforting me, but at some point he started losing his mind and started crying. I could hear his voice cracking as he prayed,” she said.
After the tornado passed, the Delgados emerged from the rubble with only the clothes they wore on their backs. Their homes, cars, and personal belongings are all gone.
“We didn’t even have our wedding rings back then,” adds Flor Delgado.
The state’s governor, Laura Kelly, has declared a state of emergency for the hardest-hit areas.
This makes government resources available to support local jurisdictions in affected areas.
In addition to the tornadoes, large hail was reported in several towns in the region. Softball-sized hail has been sighted near Holbrook, Nebraska, and Enterprise, Kansas, according to the National Weather Service.