A tornado struck the community of Eureka in Greenwood County, 60 miles east of Wichita, at approximately 7:21 p.m. Tuesday evening, June 26, leaving eight people with injuries, one critical. It is reported to be a ‘direct hit,’ and search and rescue efforts are underway. Local officials are conducting damage assessments at this time. The preliminary assessment shows damage to more than 100 blocks because of the tornado.
The high school along with a number of homes and businesses in this community of about 2,400 people were damaged with large amounts of debris. Trees and power lines are down. Westar Energy is reporting 3,500 customers still without power. You call track outages here: Westar Outage Map.
The American Red Cross has a shelter open at the Methodist Church, 521 N. Main Street, which will also serve as a cooling station for residents. The Red Cross will be conducting responder feeding operations and Operation BBQ will provide mobile canteens on site. The American Red Cross is asking anyone affected by the tornado to register at their Safe and Well website at https://safeandwell.communityos.org/cms/index.php or call 1-800-RED CROSS. The Safe and Well website can also be used to check on family members in the affected area.
Another shelter is reported open at New Life Assembly of God, 1201 North Main.
The Kansas Department of Transportation deployed a debris loader overnight to clear roadways for emergency vehicle access. Highway 54 has been reopened. Mutual aid has been provided by Lyon and Coffey County with 800 mHz radios, a mobile command center and law enforcement support.
Emergency sirens were activated prior to the tornado strike, but the tornado developed quickly and people had little time to take shelter. First responders continue searching properties to make sure there’s no one else injured or trapped.
Gov. Jeff Colyer declared a State of Disaster Emergency proclamation at 8:33 p.m. and Greenwood County declared a state of local disaster. The State Emergency Operations Center in Topeka was activated to coordinate the response of state agencies. Personnel from the Kansas Division of Emergency Management are in contact with Greenwood County emergency management officials to respond to requests for assistance.
Officials said that the best way people can help right now is to make monetary donations to established volunteer organizations such as the American Red Cross, Harvesters, Salvation Army, United Way, etc.
It has been reported this morning that those wishing to help can check in at the Matt Samuels Community Building at 100 N. Jefferson in Eureka at noon today.
If you have been displaced by the tornado, or are in need of shelter, you can call 211 for assistance.
- Top Photo: Cindy Walthers