EUREKA, Can. – Residents in a small Kansas town were surveying the damage Wednesday after the community took a “direct hit” from a tornado for the second time in two years.
Eight people injured, two critically, when the last twister struck the southeast 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, including Eureka. The city is located about 60 miles (100 kilometers) east of Wichita.
“Eureka ran a direct hit from a tornado,” Greenwood County Emergency Management tweeted soon after the tornado hit. “Shelter at the Methodist Church. No volunteers are needed 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. 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 last tornado. In July 2016, an EF-2 twister hit Eureka, damaging almost 100 homes.
Damage forced the closure of a large part of the U.S. 54 for a number of hours after the tornado. Welch said the Kansas Department of Transportation cleared the roadway and the highway was open again.