Tornadoes rip through Barton County causing damage, injuries

BARTON COUNTY, Kan. (KSNW) – Authorities said one person was hurt but refused treatment when a tornado touched down Tuesday night in central Kansas. The twister touched down just after 8 p.m. near Pawnee Rock and traveled up to K-4 Highway just west of Hoisington. The tornado was on the ground for about 12 miles. Barton County communications said sirens provided plenty of warning.

Damage from the storm

Right now, officials are surveying the damage and beginning the cleanup.

Hoisington tornado (Courtesy: Patrick Kephart)

In Pawnee Rock, two homes were destroyed, and seven others were heavily damaged. Several trees were also down. A gas leak forced two to three homes to be evacuated for a time.

“You could feel it and everything got calm. I got the door to lock, and I ran down to the basement, and you could feel the house shake and vibrating. Then, it was just done, and it was over and we could hear our pastor beating on our door to see if we were ok. It just went by so fast, everything, instant,” said Donna Werner, Pawnee County resident.

To the west of Great Bend, two more homes were destroyed, and two others were heavily damaged. Dan and Joice Wapelhorst’s home was destroyed.

“We looked out the back door, and I didn’t see nothing, and then, it got dead still. I went out of the south side of garage, and it was out there in that field,” Waplehorst said.  “I went in and got my wife and my daughter and said lets get to the cellar. I couldn’t get the door shut. It was pulling on me. I finally got it shut. In five seconds, it was over.”

National Weather Service Meteorologist Mike Umscheid will be out to assess the extent of the damage.

Barton County Emergency Management Director Amy Miller said they should have an estimate of damages later today.

Anyone in Barton County needing assistance can call 620-793-1835.

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