Latest: Weather service says twister just missed Kansas town
May. 26, 2016
DODGE CITY, Kan. (AP) — The Latest on severe weather affecting parts of the central U.S. (all times local):
The National Weather Service says a large tornado in Kansas that was on the ground for nearly an hour and a half missed a small town by about a mile.
Meteorologist Chad Omitt says the tornado formed just after 7 p.m. near the Ottawa County community of Niles. He says it stayed on the ground continuously as it moved into Dickinson County.
Omitt says it looks like "the heart" of the tornado was just about a mile south of the town of Chapman at one point. He says estimates are that the twister was a quarter- to a half-mile wide at times.
Radar suggests the tornado dissipated around 8:35 p.m.
Authorities are assessing damage, but there were no immediate reports of injuries.
Weather service crews will survey the area tomorrow.
The Kansas Highway Patrol says about 20 homes have been damaged but there are no immediate reports of injuries after a tornado touched down outside the small town of Chapman.
Trooper Ben Gardner, a spokesman for the patrol, says troopers were checking a rural area in Dickinson County where it is believed 20 homes were damaged Wednesday night, some significantly.
Gardner says troopers are going from home to home to make sure everyone is OK but there were no immediate reports of injuries or fatalities.
The National Weather Service had warned people to take cover as what it called a "catastrophic" tornado approached Chapman, about 75 miles west of Topeka.
Gardner says it appears the storm traveled south of the town.
A tornado watch is in effect for much of Kansas and part of Oklahoma until 11 p.m.
The Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma, says more bad weather is headed for the central U.S. for the remainder of the week, including possible tornadoes.
Forecasters say unstable air could allow tornadoes to form in southern Nebraska and northern Kansas in the late afternoon and early evening on Thursday. Very large hail could form, too.
There's a bit of a tornado threat through the rest of Kansas and into Oklahoma, too. Texas could see large hail.
On Friday, the bad weather shifts southward into Oklahoma and Texas, bringing an end to a stormy week that included tornadoes in parts of the Plains on Monday and Tuesday and flooding in Arkansas and Oklahoma on Tuesday.
Crews are evaluating damage after a series of tornadoes that destroyed at least two western Kansas homes and left two people with critical injuries.
National Weather Service meteorologist Andrew White says a storm dropped multiple tornadoes during a two-hour span Tuesday night in Ford and Hodgeman counties. Preliminary reports indicate that at least one of the twisters was a half-mile wide.
White says crews will conduct a survey Wednesday in the counties to determine how many tornadoes touched down, their strength and how long they were on the ground. He says less damaging tornadoes were reported in two other Kansas counties.
Besides damaged homes, White says U.S. 50 was temporarily closed because a tractor-trailer was toppled in the storm. He says a large propane tank also tipped over.
Authorities in northeast Arkansas say a 13-year-old boy was found safe three hours after he was swept away in a flooded drainage pipe.
Jonesboro police say the boy fell into the storm drain Tuesday after storms dumped more than 4 inches of rain on the area, about 130 miles northeast of Little Rock. Two officers searching the area pulled the boy to safety after hearing his cries for help.
Police Cpl. Jason Chester tells television station KAIT that the boy said he clung to a pole until the officers rescued him about three hours after his ordeal began.
The boy was found about two blocks from where he fell into the storm drain. Police say he wasn't seriously hurt.
Authorities say one person drowned when a vehicle was swept off a road in central Oklahoma. Two others in the vehicle escaped serious injury.
The Oklahoma Highway Patrol says the drowning happened early Wednesday near the small town of Davenport, which is about 50 miles northeast of Oklahoma City.
The highway patrol says the vehicle was swept into a drainage culvert, and one person was pinned in the floodwaters and drowned.
The National Weather Service says 3 to 6 inches of rain fell in parts of Oklahoma, and a flood warning is in effect through Wednesday afternoon.
Authorities say at least two people were critically injured and rural homes were damaged in Kansas amid severe storms that swept across the Plains.
A statement early Wednesday from the Kansas Adjutant General's Department says the storms downed trees and power lines and damaged outbuildings and rural homes.
The statement says emergency management officials in Ford County reported two people were critically injured and taken to a hospital in Dodge City.
The National Weather Service will conduct damage surveys Wednesday.