City and county officials will get their first daytime look this afternoon at tornado-torn southeast Wichita when they join Gov. Sam Brownback, state and federal elected officials for a tour.
Brownback, Sen. Jerry Moran and Rep. Pat Roberts are expected to tour the damaged Oaklawn area along with McConnell Air Force Base at mid-afternoon, as Wichita officials begin their push for state and federal disaster aid to recover from a Saturday night tornado and high winds that did millions in damage. However, officials report no fatalities and “injuries that are fairly minor,” Wichita police Lt. Doug Nolte said.
Meanwhile, city and county officials said during a noon news conference downtown that they think damage estimates may come in below the $283 million figure estimated Saturday night, and that they remain unsure about the fate of a person unaccounted for from the damaged mobile home park in Oaklawn.
“The number could be under that, and it could rise because we did have some significant industrial buildings hit,” Sedgwick County Commission Chairman Tim Norton said.
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What they are sure about, Norton said, is that it could have been worse.
“I know a little bit about tornadoes and people did the right things,” Norton said. “We are very fortunate that the storm didn’t go into larger residential areas. It could have been really bad.”
Randy Duncan, who directs the county’s emergency preparedness effort, said officials don’t know if the damage totals will qualify for federal funding.
City and county officials are working on a debris recovery plan, including what Norton said was a “large amount” of tree debris in the city and county.