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Iowa, Kansas See What's Still Standing

Tornadoes: Residents sift through remains of a fierce line of storms. A 4-year-old girl dies in the aftermath; three injured.

May 13, 2000|From Associated Press

DUNKERTON, Iowa — Residents of Iowa and Kansas surveyed damage Friday from tornadoes that damaged scores of homes and businesses. A 4-year-old girl died in the aftermath of the storms, which also left three people injured.

The girl died Friday after a porch roof, which was damaged at her Tonganoxie, Kan., home, collapsed onto her, officials said. The house was believed to have been hit by the tornado Thursday night.

In Iowa, a 72-year-old woman remained hospitalized after losing an arm when a tornado struck her house, said Dave Miller of the state Emergency Management Agency. Two other injuries were reported.

Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack toured the state's northeastern region, which was hit by a dozen tornadoes Thursday night, and declared disaster areas in Black Hawk and Buchanan counties.

"It's devastation," the governor said. "I've never seen homes, farmsteads, farm buildings quite as pulverized as those which we've seen today."

The temporary trailers that house Dunkerton City Hall and the post office were knocked off their foundations and were closed Friday.

Both offices were relocated last year because of flooding.

"They told us when they put it up that it was supposed to withstand 80 mph winds," Mayor Richard Ede said. "I guess if we have to lose a building or a couple of buildings, at least nobody was in them."

In Tonganoxie, officials estimated as many as 200 homes and a dozen businesses were damaged.

Roof damage allowed water to seep into eight of 32 classrooms in Tonganoxie Elementary School, damaging the classrooms and equipment.

Classes were canceled Friday for the 700 students, and no decision has been made on whether school would be canceled next week.

Florence Somers' house outside of town sustained only window and roof damage, but her farm's hay barn and other buildings were leveled. All that remained of the 45-foot silo was a pile of concrete blocks and a twisted ladder.

"It was pretty devastating. We saw a few pieces of hail and then things started crashing and banging," Somers said.

"We were very fortunate," she said. "God was looking after us."

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