At least 9 people were killed when a tornado struck the Kiowa County region. The deadly storm destroyed numerous structures in Greensburg.


At least eight Kiowa County residents are reported dead after a tornado struck the region late Friday.

The business district of Greensburg was leveled and many homes destroyed.

One person in Stafford County has also been reported killed by the deadly storm.

The names of those killed are not available at this time.

According to an Associated Press report, City Administrator Steve Hewitt warned that more people may have been lost and that a search of cellars and debris is under way.

"All my downtown is gone. My home is gone. My staff's homes are gone. And we've got to find a way to get this to work and come to work every day and get this thing back on its feet. It's going to be tough," Hewitt told AP.

The destruction included City Hall, the high school and the junior high school, Hewitt said earlier. A mandatory evacuation was ordered, he said.

Gov. Kathleen Sebelius declared a disaster emergency for Kiowa County, said her spokeswoman Nicole Corcoran.

The offices of the Kiowa County Signal were also destroyed, according to Pruitt Tribune editor Conrad Easterday. All Signal staff members are safe, Easterday said.  The Signal and Tribune are both owned by GateHouse Media, Inc.

The staffs of both papers are working on a special Monday print edition and the Signal. Currently, officials are barring staff members from entering Greensburg.

According to an AP report, National Weather Service meteorologist Larry Ruthi said the path of damage was 1.4 miles wide, estimating it would be classified a "upper F-4 or an F-5" tornado, the strongest possible.

State Rep. Dennis McKinney, the Kansas House minority leader, told Associated Press that he and his daughter kid in the basement while the storm destroyed his home. Then he helped search homes for survivors but noted "the inspections didn't take that long because in the western part of town, there weren't many homes left to inspect."