WICHITA, Kan. — The tornado that damaged more than 1,000 buildings in south-central Kansas generated winds up to 165 mph (266 kph) and carved a path of destruction nearly 13 miles (21 kilometers) long.
The National Weather Service said the tornado that caused extensive damage Friday mostly in the Wichita suburb of Andover and injured several people rated an EF3 on the Enhanced Fujita scale it uses to assess tornadoes.
Andover Fire Chief Chad Russell said that at least 300 to 400 buildings were destroyed by the storm as part of a total of 1,074 buildings that were damaged. The Weather Service said the tornado was on the ground for 21 minutes Friday evening.
Four people, including two firefighters who were responding to a call in Andover, were injured during the storm but their injuries were minor.
Russell said it will take years for Andover to recover from this storm.
“The city of Andover will be affected by this for years,” he said. “We still have scars from 1991 (EF5 tornado). I’m so thankful this tornado was not as bad as that, but we will literally be doing this for years.”
By Sunday, utility crews had restored power to nearly all of the more than 15,000 customers who lost power during the storm. Evergy said less than 1,000 people still lacked power in the Wichita area Sunday morning.
In addition to the storm damage, the Oklahoma State Patrol said three University of Oklahoma meteorology students were killed in a car crash about 85 miles (137 kilometers) north of Oklahoma City in Oklahoma Friday evening as they returned from storm chasing in Kansas.