May 26, 12:17 AM EDT

Authorities: 20 homes damaged, no injuries in Kansas storms


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CHAPMAN, Kan. (AP) -- About 20 homes were damaged Wednesday night in a rural area of northern Kansas after a tornado passed through but there were no immediate reports of injuries, the Kansas Highway Patrol said.

Trooper Ben Gardner, a spokesman for the patrol, said troopers were checking a rural area in Dickinson County where it was believed 20 homes were damaged, some significantly.

Troopers were going from home to home to make sure everyone was OK and so far hadn't found or heard of anyone who was hurt, Gardner said.

The National Weather Service had warned people to take cover as what it called a "catastrophic" tornado approached Chapman, about 75 miles west of Topeka.

But Gardner said it appears the storm traveled south of the town.

A tornado watch was in effect for east-central Kansas until 1 a.m. A separate watch was in effect for part of northern Oklahoma until 1 a.m.

The storms Wednesday followed severe weather that swept through the Great Plains a day earlier.

Weather service meteorologist Andrew White in Dodge City said multiple tornadoes struck Ford and Hodgeman counties during a two-hour span Tuesday night, including an EF-2 twister that caused damage in western Ford County. Preliminary reports indicate that at least one of the tornadoes was a half-mile wide.

The tornadoes, which injured at least two people, were part of a series of storms that also pounded the Plains with rain and hail. One person drowned in central Oklahoma, and a 13-year-old boy was found safe in northeastern Arkansas three hours after falling into a flooded drainage pipe.

The drowning in Oklahoma happened early Wednesday when a vehicle was swept into a drainage culvert near the small town of Davenport, about 50 miles northeast of Oklahoma City, the Highway Patrol said. The National Weather Service said 3 to 6 inches of rain fell in parts of Oklahoma.

In Arkansas, the boy who fell into a storm drain wasn't seriously hurt. Police Cpl. Jason Chester told television station KAIT that the boy said he clung to a pole. He was rescued after two officers heard his cries for help.

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