Kansas governor, legislators offer support for Andover after ‘stunning and heartbreaking’ tornado

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TOPEKA — Gov. Laura Kelly on Saturday surveyed damage in Andover and promised to help the town recover from the large and destructive tornado that tore through the town the night before.

Legislators from the area offered prayers and assistance for the Butler County community. The National Weather Service in Wichita said the severity of damage indicated the tornado had an EF3 intensity on the 0-5 rating scale while on the ground for about 20 minutes.

The governor declared an emergency Friday evening after a large storm system spawned tornadoes, large hail and strong straight-line winds across the state. On Saturday, she traveled to Andover to meet with first responders, local government officials and residents impacted by the storm.

“One thing is clear: Kansans are resilient, and we will get through this together,” Kelly said. “My administration will work with local leaders to help Kansans impacted by this storm get back on their feet.”

Senate President Ty Masterson, a Republican from Andover, said his own house only lost a few singles, but the “path of destruction was enormous, with hundreds of homes, businesses, or other structures destroyed or damaged.”

“I am deeply appreciative of all who are helping our community of Andover as we assess the devastating impact of the tornado,” Masterson said. “The extent of the damage is stunning and heartbreaking, and we are so thankful no lives were lost. As Andover recovers and rebuilds, we stand ready to assist those in need. Prayers continue.”

Rep. Susan Humphries, a Wichita Republican whose district includes Andover, said the community “suffered a sudden and devastating loss.”

“My family and I offer our heartfelt prayers to those most directly affected by last night’s storm,” Humphries said. “We are with you, and we will stand and work beside you. Our gratitude goes out to the agencies and individuals who work tirelessly to keep us safe and support our community.”

Kansas Reflector is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Kansas Reflector maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Sherman Smith for questions: info@kansasreflector.com. Follow Kansas Reflector on Facebook and Twitter.

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