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More than a dozen tornadoes hit Kansas
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Authorities checking on a car stranded in a field this morning found two people killed by a powerful storm that raked the state a day earlier with more than a dozen tornadoes. UPDATED, 5:16 p.m.
The storm yesterday destroyed several buildings and left at least four people injured in Stafford County, including one hospitalized in serious condition at a Wichita hospital, according to a statement by Sharon Watson, a spokeswoman for the Kansas Adjutant General’s Department. The National Weather Service said at least 17 twisters touched down across the state.
Authorities found a man and woman from Colorado dead in a car in a field 13 miles east of Pratt, about 75 miles west of Wichita, Watson said. It was not clear how the car got in the field. In a statement about the deaths, the Pratt County Sheriff's Office didn’t give details about how the two were killed, and declined to elaborate when called.
Severe weather continued today in northwestern Oklahoma, where a tornado touched down in a rural area west of Hennessey. Television footage showed a twister severely damaging barns. No injuries were reported.
In Colorado, hundreds of residents were allowed to return to their homes in the farming town of Windsor, which was ravaged by a large tornado on Thursday. Parts of the town had been cordoned off because of natural gas leaks.
Officials met with residents to advise them of the dangers still in the area from exposed electrical wires, severed gas lines, nails, broken boards and other debris still littering the area.
“There may be some damage, and with no power it may be an unpleasant place to live, but it’s up to the homeowners,” incident management team spokesman Dan Hatlestad said.
The tornado, with wind speeds between 111 mph to 165 mph, tore through a 35-mile stretch of northern Colorado, killing one person and injuring dozens. It tipped 15 rail cars off the tracks in Windsor, about 70 miles north of Denver.
In Kansas, weather service survey teams toured the area today to determine the size of the twisters. Ed Berry, science operations officer in the Dodge City office, said many of the twisters appear to have been significant in size.
In Stafford County, at least seven homes suffered major damage, along with damage to several other structures, power lines and trees, Watson said today.
Two tornadoes touched down yesterday in Gove County, with at least a dozen homes sustaining major damage, said George Lies, emergency management director for Logan and Gove Counties.
A twister touched down south of Quinter, went back into the clouds as it went over the town, then dropped back down on the other side, damaging four homes.
Parts of Kansas also have been hit hard by flooding, with as much as 8 inches of rain falling in a 48-hour period, said Chris Foltz, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Goodland.
About 100 people have died in U.S. twisters so far this year, the worst toll in a decade, according to the weather service, and the danger has not passed yet. Tornado season typically peaks in the spring and early summer, then again in the late fall.
Associated Press writer Ivan Moreno in Denver contributed to this report.
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