Tornadoes ripped through Kansas and Oklahoma Friday, killing at least 30 people.

The twisters, which were reported across a wide area of southeast Kansas and northeastern Oklahoma, chased legislators from the Kansas Statehouse, damaged a hospital at an Air Force base and wrought devastation in Andover, Kan., a town of 5,000 just east of Wichita.At least 22 were killed there and 500 homes were damaged, Andover Mayor Jack Finlason told reporters. Law enforcement officials weren't immediately able to confirm the death count. At least three deaths were reported in Wichita.


A sheriff's official in Sedgewick County, which includes Wichita, estimated that up to 200 people were taken to hospitals.

"The southeast part of town, especially the mobile home park, is completely leveled. The injuries are too numerous at this point to assess," Finlason said. Authorities searched for victims there throughout the night. A 13-year-old girl in Andover was carried 400 feet into a tree.

Harold Harris of Wichita watched a twister touch down on a farm northwest of town.

"We saw the tornado coming across the field," he said. "A barn disappeared and it tore the devil out of the house."

A tornado touched down at McConnell Air Force Base in Wichita about 6:30 p.m., causing a few minor injuries and heavily damaging the base hospital.

Kansas lawmakers were ordered to evacuate the Statehouse because of storms heading for Topeka.


Oklahoma authorities blamed tornadoes for at least three deaths in the northeastern part of that state. One woman died when her car was swept off U.S. 64 in Pawnee County, west of Tulsa. Another person was killed near Westport, about 25 miles west of Tulsa.

Retiree Jack Barnes was helping clear downed limbs from another family's roof in Tonkawa when a branch snapped back in his face, killing him, said Police Chief Frank Hall.

Nebraska, Louisiana.

Tornadoes also hit Nebraska and Louisiana. In Nebraska, a tornado damaged houses, farms and trees south of Beatrice as thunderstorms and hail up to the size of golf balls pummeled the state.