Cleanup begins after tornadoes in Emporia

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It’s one of the longest tornado paths that have ever been tracked in Lyon County.

Director of Emergency Management Rick Frevert says the twisters in Emporia ran across 20 miles Sunday evening. National Weather Service storm survey crews confirm the first storm produced a second tornado northeast of Emporia.

Torn up trees and a cracked garage show Amabilia Rangel how lucky she is to be alive.

“We went to the store and when we came back, all of this happened, I was just in time, came back in time,” Rangel says.

In a matter of seconds she rushed her two grandchildren into the basement as an EF-1 tornado tore through her Emporia neighborhood.

“It was very scary,” Rangel says.

“I was reading by the window and all of a sudden it started to rain and hail, big pieces of hail,” adds neighbor Manuel Chiroy, whose home suffered roof damage.

Frevert says the twister started as an EF-1 and then downgraded to EF-0 as it ran across half the county – the longest tornado ever tracked here.

Winds up to 110 miles per hour ripped off shingles, cracked trees in half and demolished barns.

“My husband and I were out chasing on the west side of town and we saw it,” says Terry Koelsch, “Come to find out it was a rope and the end of the rope was over here on the east side of town in our back yard.”

Debris spreads across Koelsch’s yard near Logan and Weaver in Emporia. It’s a similar scene 20 minutes away at the 1100 block of J Road, where a home and barn were damaged by the tornado. The homeowner says insurance adjusters believe his barn is a total loss.

For Rangle, it’s the first twister she’s braved in 30 years of living here, but she can’t picture being anywhere else.

“I’m from Texas but I love Kansas, I call this my hometown,” Rangel says.

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