TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — In a story June 4 about severe storms in northeast Kansas, The Associated Press erroneously reported that a Union Pacific train's emergency technology alerted the crew that wind gusts were strong enough to potentially derail cars. The alert came from dispatchers.
The story also erroneously stated that the train was traveling from Wyoming to Arkansas. The train was traveling from Arkansas to Wyoming.
A corrected version of the story is below:
2 confirmed tornadoes cause damage in Kansas
National Weather Service says 2 tornadoes caused damage in sparsely populated northeast Kansas
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A pair of tornadoes damaged several homes and blew dozens of empty coal cars from railroad tracks in far northeast Kansas, but nobody was killed in the late-night storms, the National Weather Service said.
The first tornado was an EF-3 carrying winds up to 140 mph Tuesday in Nemaha and Brown counties, said Chad Omitt, warning coordination meteorologist with the weather service office in Topeka. The twister struck south of the tiny town of Bern, with a population of just over 150, and north of Oneida, a community of 75 residents nine miles away, Omitt said.
Four or five Nemaha County homes sustained serious damage, Omitt said, and there were a few injuries but no deaths.
A second tornado, rated as an EF-1 with winds up to 100 mph, touched down near the Brown County community of Willis, with a population of less than 40. Omitt said both tornadoes came from the same thunderstorm.
Damage was reported near Everest in Brown County, where more than 2,000 people were without power, while the entire city of Hiawatha was without power Tuesday night.
In Willis, crews using heavy equipment worked Wednesday to move 52 empty coal cars away from tracks after they were derailed by the second, smaller tornado.
The 134-car Union Pacific coal train was bound from Arkansas to Wyoming and stopped because of the extreme weather.
Union Pacific spokesman Mark Davis said a tornado warning had been issued, and dispatchers alerted the crew that wind gusts were high enough to put the cars at risk of derailing.
Davis also said the track escaped damage because the wind simply pushed the 52 cars onto their sides.
Ommit said he expected additional rounds of thunderstorms in the region Wednesday night through Saturday, including some severe ones.