Victims and county officials survey destruction

Aerial photographs show tornado damage in Pawnee Rock, Kansas. Courtesy Kansas Highway Patrol

PAWNEE ROCK, Kan. (KSNW) – The EF3 tornado with wind speeds up to 165 miles per hour that ripped through parts of Pawnee and Barton counties destroyed nine homes in total. The twister, at times, was 300 yards wide and it traveled for 27 miles.

Tornado victims and county officials spent the day surveying the destruction and trying to get a dollar estimate on the damage.

Pawnee Rock resident Steve Morgan said even though the storm didn’t last long, the damage left from it was quite extensive.

Morgan has lived in his home in Pawnee Rock for four years.

“It destroyed everything, you can see this is all still parts of the window,” said Morgan. “It took down shelves.”

Morgan said the storm only lasted a minute or two.

“Afterwards I got my shoes and thing on, went out to look at the damage and that’s when I saw the other side of our house had been blown in,” said Morgan.

Morgan said he spent Wednesday surveying the inside and outside of his home, looking to see what was damaged, and what can be salvaged. Morgan remains optimistic, mostly because of all of the help and assistance he;s gotten from volunteers who have come to lend a helping hand.

“I barely got out my door today and I had people that were looking to make sure we were okay,” said Morgan.

The American Red Cross and Salvation Army have also been providing warm meals, and comfort for those who have lost so much.

“I love being able to serve and being that shoulder,” said Ashley Allen with the Salvation Army. “It’s one of my favorite things in the world to sit there and pray with somebody.”

County appraiser Barb Esfeld said between Pawnee Rock and Barton County 11 homes are considered a total loss. According to Esfeld, the cost of damage is wide-ranging in the Pawnee Rock area from $1,000 up to $60,000.

“I’ve never witnessed damage this bad,” said Esfeld. “I’ve only seen where tornadoes have taken one farm home and then went right back up or a couple barns, but nothing like this.”

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