EUREKA (AP) — Residents in a small Kansas town were surveying damage Wednesday after the community took a “direct hit” from a tornado for the second time in two years.
Eight people were hurt, two critically, when the latest twister struck the southeastern Kansas town of Eureka Tuesday night. Kansas Adjutant General’s Office spokeswoman Jane Welch said 175 structures, including the high school, were damaged but all of the town’s 2,400 residents were accounted for.
Gov. Jeff Colyer declared a state of disaster emergency for Greenwood County, which includes Eureka. The town is about 60 miles (100 kilometers) east of Wichita.
“Eureka sustained a direct hit from a tornado,” Greenwood County Emergency Management tweeted soon after the tornado struck. “Shelter at Methodist Church. No volunteers are needed right now. The area has power lines down and is not safe.”
The tornado, part of a strong band of storms that ripped through the central U.S., left 5,000 people without power at its peak. By Wednesday, about 3,500 were still without power, according to Westar Energy.
The National Weather Service has not yet determined the wind speeds of the latest tornado. In July 2016, an EF-2 twister hit Eureka, damaging nearly 100 homes.
Damage forced the closure of a large section of U.S. 54 for several hours after the tornado. Welch said the Kansas Department of Transportation cleared the roadway and the highway was open again.