Quantcast

More tornadoes possible Sunday in battered Midwest

By Roxanna Hegeman

Associated Press

Published: Sunday, April 15 2012 7:41 a.m. MDT

The county where Wichita is located was declared a state of disaster and said preliminary estimates suggest damages could be as high as $283 million.

Yvonne Tucker rushed to a shelter with about 60 of her neighbors at Pinaire Mobile Home Park. She said people were crying and screaming, and the shelter's lights went out when the twister hit. When they came back outside, they found several homes destroyed, including Tucker's.

"I didn't think it was that bad until I walked down my street and everything is gone," said Tucker, 49. "I don't know what to do. I don't know where to go. I've seen it on TV, but when it happens to you it is unreal.

"I just feel lost."

Iowa emergency officials said a large part of the town of Thurman in the western part of the state was destroyed Saturday night, possibly by a tornado, but no one was injured or killed. Fremont County Emergency Management Director Mike Crecelius said about 75 percent of the 250-person town was destroyed. Some residents took refuge at the City Hall.

A hospital in Creston, about 75 miles southwest of Des Moines, suffered roof damage and had some of its windows blown out by the storm, but patients and staff were not hurt. Medical center officials were calling other area hospitals to determine how many beds they had available in case they needed to move patients.

In Nebraska, baseball-sized hail shattered windows and tore siding from houses in and around Petersburg, about 140 miles northwest of Omaha.  In southeast Nebraska, an apparent tornado took down barns, large trees and some small rural structures.

Kristin Dean, who was among the Wichita mobile home taking shelter from the storm, said she was shaking as she was being pushed from home in her wheelchair. She was able to grab a bag of her possessions before going into the shelter and that was all she had left. Her home was gone.

"It got still," the 37-year-old woman, who's in a wheelchair after hurting her leg a month ago, recalled of the scene inside the shelter. "Then we heard a wham, things flying. Everybody screamed, huddling together.

"It is devastating, but you know, we are alive."

Associated Press reporters Grant Schulte and Timberly Ross in Omaha, Neb.; David Pitt in Osceola, Iowa; Heather Hollingsworth in Kansas City, Mo.; Sean Murphy in Oklahoma City; Erin Gartner in Chicago; and Ed Donahue in Washington contributed to this report. Hegeman reported from Wichita, Kan.

Get The Deseret News Everywhere

Subscribe

Mobile

RSS