Tornado reported in Kan. town, 20 homes destroyed

May 22, 2011 - 12:58 AM

READING, Kan. (AP) — A tornado swept through a small eastern Kansas town late Saturday, destroying at least 20 homes and damaging 200 others, as severe thunderstorms pelted the region with hail that some residents said was the size of baseballs.

It wasn't immediately clear late whether anyone was seriously injured when the tornado hit Reading, about 50 miles south of Topeka, said Kansas Division of Emergency Management spokeswoman Sharon Watson. The entire town was without power and local authorities were setting up shelters, she said.

Watson said all of the destroyed homes were in Reading, while some of the damaged homes were in more rural outlying areas. The tornado was reported around 9:15 p.m., she said.

The powerful storms that rolled across northeast Kansas late Saturday spawned funnel clouds and hail that ripped limbs off of trees and shattered windows. In Topeka, residents were reporting golf ball- and baseball-sized hail.

The National Weather Service confirmed that a tornado also touched down in Topeka and northeast of the city near Lake Perry, where damage was reported at a nearby campsite, Watson said.

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Information from: The Topeka Capital-Journal, http://www.cjonline.com