Damage but few injuries after tornado in Andover, SE Wichita

Update 12:30 p.m.

At a midnight news conference, emergency officials talked of “very bad damage” but said they knew of only a few people who had been injured when a tornado barreled through parts of southeast Wichita and Andover on Friday evening.

They asked that people stay away from damaged areas because of downed power lines. More than 6,500 people were without power early Saturday.

Three people in southeast Sedgwick County were injured, one seriously, officials said at the news conference. Five people, including two firefighters, had been treated by Butler County EMS for cuts, scratches and falls. One had been taken to the hospital in good condition.

Scott Stueven, deputy chief of Butler County EMS, said the agency was still getting calls for service.

Andover fire chief Chad Russell said emergency workers had done a first round of assessments for injuries and were beginning to check properties in damaged areas more methodically.

Russell did not know how many buildings had been damaged; an estimated 966 buildings were in the tornado’s path.

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Firefighters search a home on south Hedgewood Street in Andover on Friday night after a tornado ripped through the area. Travis Heying The Wichita Eagle

Some neighborhoods were “damaged enough that houses were completely blown down,” he said.

Russell talked of “very bad damage” and listed these areas as some in the path of the tornado: the neighborhood at the northeast corner of Harry and Andover Road, the southwest corner of that intersection, the Reflection Lake neighborhood and Central Park east of Crescent Lakes. The tornado continued “all the way up to either 60th or 70th, past the KTA,” he said.

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A heavily damaged home on east Minneha Ave. in Andover on Friday night after a tornado ripped through the area. Travis Heying The Wichita Eagle

City Hall also sustained damage, which hampered “some of our efforts,” Russell said.

Other buildings reported as damaged are the Dr. Jim Farha Andover YMCA and Prairie Creek Elementary School. No injuries were reported from the Y, officials said.No injuries were reported from the Y, officials said.

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A family grabs a few items before evacuating on east Minneha Ave. in Andover on Friday night after a tornado ripped through the area. Travis Heying The Wichita Eagle

Update 11 p.m.:

Wichita Mayor Brandon Whipple tweeted that roughly “50-100 structures” were damaged from the tornado.

In a phone interview, he said that includes possible structures destroyed around Wichita, but mostly around Andover. He said that estimate is based on the city’s communication with Andover officials.

He said no injuries have been reported as of around 11 p.m.

A shelter has been set up at St. Vincent Catholic Church, 123 N. Andover, in Andover to help people affected by the tornado.

Update 10 p.m.:

The Andover YMCA had considerable damage after the tornado pushed through the area Friday night. Part of the YMCA building collapsed and several vehicles were thrown up against the building.

The Greater Wichita YMCA issued the following statement on Facebook: “The Andover YMCA suffered significant damage as a result of the storm that hit the Andover area this evening. We are thankful that all of the staff and members that took shelter at the branch at the time of the storm, were not injured. The branch will be closed until further notice. We will keep everyone updated as details become available.”

In a Facebook post, Andover police asked people to avoid coming to town.

“We are uncertain about the extent of the damage, emergency crews are responding,” the post says.

Update 9:40 p.m.:

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Firefighters search a home on south Hedgewood Street in Andover on Friday night after a tornado ripped through the area. Travis Heying The Wichita Eagle

At least a dozen homes have been destroyed in a housing development just southwest of the Andover YMCA.

The Andover YMCA also had considerable damage after the tornado pushed through the area Friday night. Part of the YMCA building collapsed and several vehicles were thrown up against the building.

Eagle photographer Travis Heying reported seeing a car laying on top of where a house was destroyed southwest of the YMCA. He said there was heavy damage to homes along Minneha and Hedgewood in the housing development.

Rain was pouring down around 9:40 p.m., he said, and firefighters were going house to house. The tornado moved through that area after 8 p.m.

Update 9:15 p.m.:

Parts of Andover took a hit from the tornado, especially the Andover YMCA and a housing development just to the southwest of it.

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A tornado seen from 31st and Greenwich. Jenny Sullivan Courtesy

A Wichita Eagle photographer said that homes were partially destroyed in the neighborhood, and roofs were missing from homes. Ambulances were everywhere.

The Andover YMCA just south of Highway 54 showed major damage. The Eagle photographer saw crushed cars pushed up against its south entrance and police officers searching the area with flashlights in complete darkness. Power was out to the area.

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A tornado can be seen passing though Andover from K-96 on Friday night. Travis Heying The Wichita Eagle

Drone footage of the Andover tornado show the strong winds rip through homes as it moved through the area.

Original 9 p.m.:

A tornado in Butler County was captured on video Friday night.

Severe weather moved in across the Wichita area on Friday, bringing hail, strong winds and a tornado picked up on video by Brenton Swart. He was in a rural area of Butler County, just southeast of Andover. The video shows the tornado touching down and moving just after 8 p.m. Swart also reported seeing at least one downed power line in the area.

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A tornado can be seen passing though Andover from K-96 on Friday night. Travis Heying The Wichita Eagle

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A tornado seen from 31st and Greenwich. Jenny Sullivan Courtesy

KSN said they had had reports of damage, from what appears to be that same tornado, in the nearby Andover area. The tornado and weather system was moving northeast, KSN reported.

Around 8:50 p.m., KSN reported a tornado near El Dorado, which is northeast of Andover.

This story was originally published April 29, 2022 9:06 PM.

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Michael Stavola covers breaking news at The Wichita Eagle. He’s won a national and several state awards during his six years of working at newspapers in Kansas. He finished his MBA at Wichita State University in spring 2020. Michael likes to exercise, hunt and spend time with his wife and their dog, Marley.

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