Disaster News Network Print This

Twisters strike rural Kansas

BY STEVE GUST | PARSONS, KS | April 21, 2000

PARSONS, KS (April 21, 2000) -- Rural southeast Kansas is assessing damage from several tornadoes that touched down Wednesday and hit the towns of Parsons, Erie, and Walnut.

Several residents were injured by flying debris, especially in Parsons, which was hardest hit, said Joy Moser, public affairs officer for the Kansas Division of Emergency Management Department.

"Gov. Bill Graves has issued a disaster declaration and the National Guard has been deployed for perimeter duty," Moser said.

In Parsons, there are at least 10 collapsed homes and two destroyed businesses. The Parsons judicial center and police department building were damaged. Though the Parsons 911 center was disabled during the storm, emergency calls were

successfully routed to alternate centers in surrounding communities.

Twelve teams of inspectors from the International Conference of Building Officials (ICBO) are in the field conducting damage assessments in Parsons,

which has a population of about 11,000. The ICBO deploys technical engineers who assess the stability of various structures.

One shelter was opened in Parsons Wednesday night, housing 75 people.

In the smaller community of Erie, Moser said damage was not quite as bad as first feared. A tornado also touched down east of the town of Cherryvale. And in the small town of Walnut at least one home was destroyed.

"A house in Walnut collapsed with a woman inside of it, but she wasn't hurt," Moser said.

Faith-based and voluntary groups are still assessing damages. Week of Compassion, a giving program coordinated through the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) rushed emergency grants to its local churches so they could respond to immediate needs within their congregations and within the community at large. Methodist officials reported they are also in touch with local churches to assess damages and respond as needed.

The Salvation Army and American Red Cross helped meet emergency needs in Parsons.

The National Weather Service was able to issue warnings approximately 10-15 minutes ahead of time giving residents time to take shelter. Local officials are saying early warnings helped minimize the number of injuries.

For many residents in the state, this week's twisters brought back memories of a huge tornado that struck last May, destroying 1,000 homes and damaging another 2,500.

A continuing line of severe weather also spawned a tornado that touched down Thursday in Illinois, and high winds were reported in Ohio as well.

Posted April 21, 2000

Related Topics:

Rare PA tornado damages homes

Wicked weather hits NE Texas

Tornado hits Michigan town

More links on Tornadoes

Find this article at:



DNN Sponsors include: