Destructive Tornado Hits Westmoreland, Kansas, Causing Extreme Damage and Prompting Search and Rescue Efforts

Powerful tornado strikes Westmoreland, Kansas, causing extensive damage, 1 fatality, and leaving the town without power. Authorities continue search and rescue efforts as the community begins recovery.

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Mahnoor Jehangir
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Destructive Tornado Hits Westmoreland, Kansas, Causing Extreme Damage and Prompting Search and Rescue  Efforts

Destructive Tornado Hits Westmoreland, Kansas, Causing Extreme Damage and Prompting Search and Rescue Efforts

A powerful tornado struck the small town of Westmoreland, Kansas, on May 1, 2024, causing extensive damage and at least one fatality. The tornado hit the town around 4:40 PM, destroying at least 22 homes and damaging another 13, as well as destroying 4 commercial buildings and damaging another.

According to Pottawatomie County Public Information Officer Becky Ryan, the storm left 3 people injured, and search and rescue efforts were still ongoing as officials assessed the damage. One person was confirmed dead, though their identity has not been released.

First responders from multiple agencies are conducting grid searches to survey the damage and look for any additional injured individuals. A curfew has been imposed in the area, and officials are asking the public to shelter in place.

The tornado destroyed or made unlivable 22 houses, damaged 13 other homes and one business, and also destroyed three RVs and some outbuildings. Damaged structures included Pottawatomie County administration buildings. Authorities reported that 'half the town' sustained damage, and some sheriff's deputies had damage to their homes.

The entire city of Westmoreland, which has a population of around 740 residents, was left without power. Utility companies are working to restore services safely. A temporary shelter was set up at Rock Creek High School for displaced residents, and the American Red Cross and Salvation Army are providing assistance.

Why this matters: This destructive tornado is part of a larger severe weather system that has produced nearly 200 reported tornadoes in the Plains and Midwest since Friday. It comes just two days after deadly tornadoes hit Oklahoma, killing four people and injuring at least 100, and follows tornadoes that struck Nebraska and Iowa the previous week, further highlighting the dangerous weather conditions in the region.

Pottawatomie County is accepting donations at the Westmoreland Community Center to aid in the recovery efforts. "It's a difficult time for our community, but we will come together to support each other and rebuild," said Westmoreland Mayor Jim Akins. The Kansas Highway Patrol and emergency personnel from surrounding areas have joined the search and rescue efforts as the town begins the long process of recovering from this devastating storm.

Key Takeaways

  • Powerful tornado struck Westmoreland, Kansas on May 1, 2024, causing 1 fatality and extensive damage.
  • Storm destroyed 22 homes, damaged 13 others, and destroyed 4 commercial buildings in the town.
  • 3 people were injured, and search and rescue efforts were ongoing as officials assessed the damage.
  • Entire city of Westmoreland (pop. 740) left without power, with a temporary shelter set up for displaced residents.
  • This tornado is part of a larger severe weather system that has produced nearly 200 reported tornadoes in the region.