Storms Spark Damage Across State

By: 13 News/AP
By: 13 News/AP

TOPEKA, KS - A line of severe storms marched across Kansas Thursday afternoon and evening. In the Northeastern part of the state, power outages and downed tree limbs accounted for most of the damage.

A severe thunderstorm moved across Shawnee County around 9 pm. In Auburn, a large branch partially blocked a street and several scattered outages had power crews out. The situation was much the same in Topeka. At one point, Westar reported more than 6300 customers in Shawnee County without power. Topeka Police say a few of the downed lines sparked minor tree fires. Heavy rain also created some minor street flooding for a short time.

In Clay County, a sheriff's dispatcher says a tornado destroyed one home, damaged several buildings and knocked down some power lines and trees.

Elsewhere in the state, several tornadoes were reported Thursday, destroying at least one home and spooking a pair of circus elephants that escaped from the Trego County Fairgrounds.

The elephants were part of a traveling circus in WaKeeney, and Sheriff Richard Schneider says they were captured in residents' backyards without doing any damage.

The National Weather Service says there are reports of 30 tornadoes across the Midwest, with 14 of those coming after 5 p.m. Winds of up to 80 miles per hour and large hail hit parts of Kansas, with Pawnee County reporting hail stones up to 3 inches in diameter.

The Weather Service says a large tornado in Atchison County destroyed a grain bin and farm buildings. It then crossed the Missouri River, where it overturned tractor-trailers on Interstate 29 in northwest Missouri.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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