KANSAS CITY, Missouri (Reuters) - A tornado wiped out most of a small farming town in southwestern Kansas, killing seven people and injuring at least 63, emergency officials said on Saturday.
The funnel cloud hit Greensburg on Friday evening, smashing buildings, overturning vehicles and knocking out communications towers. Aerial television news footage showed ruins throughout the community of about 1,800 people.
Rescue workers were going door to door, helped by National Guard troops. Some residents said on television that emergency sirens had given them about 20 minutes of warning before the driving winds hit the town.
"There is still a possibility that we do not have all the people accounted for," said a spokeswoman for the state emergency management agency.
The tornado was "massive," measuring up to 1 mile wide, said Michael Lacy, a forecaster with the
National Weather Service in Dodge City, Kansas.
Winds were as strong as 165 mph (266 kph), he said.
Severe thunderstorms continued to move through the U.S. Midwest.
Greensburg's hospital and schools were destroyed. The water tower next to the town's main tourist attraction -- the world's largest hand-dug well -- was damaged, Lacy said. The town also boasts a 1,000 lb (454 kg) meteor.
The peak U.S. tornado season runs from March through early July.
Tornadoes kill about 70 people in the United States each year. The worst cluster came on April 3-4, 1974 when 307 people were killed by 148 tornadoes in 13 states.
The most violent single tornado appeared on March 18, 1925, killing 689 people as it ran from Missouri across southern Illinois into Indiana.
|Liveleak on Facebook|