Kansas tornado inflicts heavy damage and leaves thousands without power

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Watch the moment a twister moves through Andover, Kansas

A tornado has been filmed tearing through part of the US state of Kansas, with pictures showing cars crumpled into buildings and homes without roofs.

The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued severe thunderstorm warnings for Midwest states including Kansas, Iowa, Missouri and Nebraska.

In the city of Wichita, the mayor said 50 to 100 structures had been damaged, especially in the suburb of Andover.

However there are so far no reports of serious injuries.

At a press conference on Saturday morning, local officials said there had been no deaths, despite the extent of the damage to buildings and cars.

“Good news is, we’ve found no more injuries than we talked about last night,” Fire Chief Chad Russell told local news. “We have no reports of fatalities…we have no rescues outstanding, so we have no one that we know of that is trapped in a building right now that’s waiting for us to rescue them.”

“Right now, everything is going real well as far as it can be, considering the circumstances,” added police chief Buck Buchanan.

Both men said assessments of the situation were ongoing, with planes and drones being deployed to survey the damage. And both urged people who wanted to help to stay away from the area due to downed power lines.

Extraordinary videos and photos posted online show the tornado tearing through Andover, destroying buildings, with debris flying in the air.

Videos posted to social media show the extent of the damage at the YMCA, with cars slammed against walls and the ceiling peeled back.

The Greater Wichita YMCA posted on Facebook: “The Andover YMCA branch 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.”

According to the Energy outage map, more than 22,000 customers were without power directly after the tornado.

Kansas is in the heart of so-called “tornado alley” and is one of the most active regions in the world tornado-wise, according to the NWS,

Mid-to-late April through to mid-June historically has the highest tornado frequency, NSW records show.

Andover has just commemorated the 31st anniversary of a series of deadly twisters that killed 17 people and injured 225 in 1991. The EF5 tornado – the most intense rating – hit the ground for 69 miles (111km), and was one of 55 tornadoes that formed from Texas to Minnesota.