Kansas tornadoes among dozens spotted

More than 30 tornadoes — some of them massive — were reported in four states Thursday, including nearly a dozen in western Kansas.

No injuries were reported in connection with tornadoes, but authorities said a 63-year-old rural Butler County woman was seriously injured in a crash during heavy rain on U.S. 54 east of El Dorado, just before 1:45 p.m. Thursday.

Butler County Sheriff Craig Murphy said Cathleen Wilson apparently lost sight of the lane markings as she drove west on U.S. 54 and drifted into the eastbound lane, colliding with an eastbound semi. Wilson was taken to Via Christi Hospital on St. Francis in Wichita, where she was in serious condition Friday.

Eleven tornadoes were reported in rural sections of western Kansas on Thursday afternoon, including one seven miles east-southeast of Kendall that witnesses described as a mile wide.

No damage was initially reported. Another wedge-shaped tornado was reported west of Friend in Finney County, and witnesses say it may have had a satellite tornado rotating around it at one point.

A tornado struck a farmstead four miles south of Scott City on Thursday evening, authorities said, damaging a barn and several grain bins. Two bins were reported destroyed and the barn partially collapsed, with a section of the roof torn off. Trees and powerlines on the farmstead were knocked down.

Assessment teams from the Dodge City bureau of the National Weather Service were still surveying damage and tornado tracks Friday. The tornadoes were the first of the year for western Kansas.

"It was just a couple of tornadic storms, but they kept us hopping," meteorologist Matt Gerard said.

Baseball-size hail was reported five miles west of Lakin in Kearny County, and large hail broke windows in Stanton County.

At least some of the 37 tornado reports collected by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Storm Prediction Center could be multiple reports of the same tornado.

Only 79 tornadoes had been reported nationwide throughout the entire country as of April 15, according to the Storm Prediction Center.

Related stories from Wichita Eagle