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Eureka, Kan. takes direct hit from tornado

An active night for severe weather in the area saw an F0 tornado touch down in the Kansas City area. But the heaviest damage was received by south central Kansas.

As the strongest remaining storms began to weaken in Sedgwick County late Tuesday night, the focus remains on Eureka, where daylight reveals the extent of damage from a tornado that left thousands without power.

Greenwood County Emergency Management said on Twitter that the community of about 2,400 people took a “direct hit.”

Officials say five people have been injured in the Eureka twister.  The tornado damaged buildings and uprooted trees when it touched down Tuesday night in the Greenwood County town of Eureka, which is about 60 miles east of Wichita.

Late Tuesday night, the adjutant general’s office says the Kansas Division of Emergency Management asks people wanting to help with cleanup and recovery efforts in Eureka to stay away from town for now.

“We know that their hearts are in the right place,” says Angee Morgan, deputy director of KDEM, “And there will probably be opportunities for people to volunteer, but right now, we need to let the professionals do their jobs, assessing the situation to see what is needed and where it is needed. Though well-intentioned, too many untrained volunteers rushing in can create problems.”

The adjutant general says a main reason people are asked to avoid the area is because of hazards from debris including weakened and damaged trees and downed power lines.

“As the situation is assessed, emergency coordinators will have a clearer picture of what is needed and will ask for trained volunteers and additional supplies, as needed,” the adjutant general’s office says.

Morgan says the best way people can help is to make money donations to established volunteer organizations such as the American Red Cross, Harvesters, the Salvation Army or the United Way.

Gov. Jeff Colyer declared a state of disaster emergency in the county about an hour after the storm hit.