Topeka – Kansas Governor Sam Brownback declared a state of emergency after strong storms, including reports of several tornadoes, tore through northeast Kansas Saturday night killing one person and leaving behind significant damage in the town of Reading in Lyon County. Kansas Division of Emergency Management staff worked with local authorities who confirmed one person was killed in Reading and approximately 200 homes in and around the town sustained damaged (minor to major damage). At least 20 homes were destroyed, those located primarily in the town.
Reports of a tornado touching down in Reading came in shortly after 9:15 p.m. Preliminary information indicates five people hurt, in addition to the fatality. Power has been out for much of the community since the storm hit. Residents were asked to gather at the grade school if their homes were inhabitable.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of the victim and everyone impacted by this storm,” Brownback said. “This state declaration paves the way for the state to assist the counties with resources and to seek federal assistance if the damages qualify," said Brownback.
Earlier in the evening a tornado was reported to have touched down in Jefferson County at the Lakeside Village Campgrounds. One mobile home was destroyed and an elderly couple was temporarily trapped inside until emergency responders could clear the debris. The couple was not injured.
A tornado was also reported in Topeka in Shawnee County, but no injuries were reported. County emergency management officials reported significant hail damage throughout the county including broken windows and tree limbs.
The state disaster declaration is for the following 16 counties: Allen, Anderson, Atchison, Brown, Coffey, Doniphan, Douglas, Franklin, Jefferson, Johnson, Leavenworth, Lyon, Miami, Nemaha, Osage, and Shawnee.
The Kansas Division of Emergency Management monitored the storms at the State Emergency Operations Center in Topeka throughout the evening and remained on partial activation Sunday, sending regional coordinators to the areas impacted to assess damage. KDEM recommends Kansans closely monitor weather conditions, heed weather warnings immediately, and avoid going into areas impacted by the storms if possible.