Storm chasers killed, thousands without power after storm

A tornado that swept through parts of Kansas destroyed or damaged hundreds of homes and buildings, injured several people and left more than 15,000 without power, officials said Saturday.

In addition to the wreckage of the tornado itself, officials said three University of Oklahoma meteorology students traveling back from the storm chase in Kansas were killed in a crash on Friday.

Nicholas Nair, 20, of Denton, Texas; Gavin Short, 19, of Grayslake, Illinois; and Drake Brooks, 22, of Evansville, Indiana, died in the crash, according to a report by the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

A firefighter checks out a house after it is destroyed by a tornado in Andover, Kansas. (AP)

More than 1,000 buildings were hit when a strong twister swept through Andover on Friday night, authorities said. On Saturday, in daylight, emergency services found a more widespread path of destruction than previously estimated.

There were no reported deaths or critical injuries from the tornado itself, despite the widespread destruction. Officials said only a few injuries had been reported.

Search and rescue operations continued on Saturday with more than 200 emergency services from 30 agencies. Officials kept volunteers away from the damage until a second search for debris was made.

Andover Fire Chief Chad Russell previously said some houses in the area were “completely blown away”.

The Kansas tornado destroyed or damaged hundreds of homes and buildings. (AP)

There are houses that have been completely knocked off their foundations and entire neighborhoods wiped out, Mr Russell said.

Governor Laura Kelly has declared a state of emergency for the worst affected areas. The statement provides state resources to assist local jurisdictions with response and recovery efforts in the affected areas.

Energy company Evergy said about 15,000 customers lost power during the tornado and work continued to restore electricity. Any broken gas and water lines were shut off and by noon there were no known active leaks.

A state of emergency has been declared for the worst-hit areas of Kansas after a tornado. (AP)

The US National Weather Service sent teams on Saturday to conduct damage investigations.

An employee of the Australian Age of Dinosaurs Museum near Winton in the Queensland outback has captured incredible aerial scenes as a deluge unloads over the state.

Incredible scenes captured in the Queensland Outback

In addition to the tornadoes, large hail was reported in several towns in the Kansas Plains. Softball-sized hail was spotted near Holbrook, Nebraska and Enterprise, Kansas, according to the National Weather Service and Stormspotters.

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