ANDOVER, Kan. (KSNW) — An Andover man is grateful that his family is safe after a tornado touched down in the city last night and “affected about 1,000 structures.”
James Gardner, who lives in Andover, recalls rain and hail falling around 8:30 p.m. Friday night before things got quiet.
He recalls his son, Zach Gardner, who lives just south of him, calling him and saying, “Oh my gosh, it’s right over south of your house.”
Zach took a video of the tornado and sent it to his dad.
“I was on my porch, I was watching the sky, started to get really dark,” said Zach. “I could see rotation, the sky started turning, then I could start seeing a funnel cloud. As soon as the funnel cloud started forming, the sirens went off.”
James watched the video just before he heard the sirens going off. He and his wife headed to the basement.
But as any midwesterner, he did not stay down there long. “Don’t go up there, get down here!” he recalls his wife telling him.
James said his daughter, Ashley Lampi, was “freaking out.” She also got a video of the tornado.
“Basically it jumped across our friend’s house down there off south, south of Harry there, hit that neighborhood, and went south of Dillons and hit the YMCA,” James said.
The tornado was so close to James’s house that he could hear it.
“I heard kind of the freight train sound, it was like just a steady rumble from the, like a thunder,” said James.
Along with the rain and hail, James’s power went out as well.
“It rained and a little bit of hail for the next few hours,” James said. “Our power went out right about that time too, so, and it was off until one and it came back on so we didn’t really get too much work, I didn’t even really have any branches down over here, so I was pretty lucky.”
Both Zach’s and Ashley’s houses were undamaged as well.
“They got a lot of wind. They saw the tornado, they filmed it. But, they didn’t get any damage either.”
James says this tornado did not scare him as bad as the Andover tornado back in 1991.
“I just got out of the national guard then, so our unit was out looking for victims last time,” said James. “It looked like a bomb went off in the city, basically everything was gone.”
He says he is fortunate that he did not have to do that again this time.
If you have been affected and need help, United Way of the Plains has set up a fund for disaster relief for Friday’s storm victims. Click here if you need help or if you want to offer help.
Another option is to text “teamwork” to 41444 to give on the go from your phone. Or, mail a check, payable to United Way of the Plains with “Disaster Relief Fund” in the memo, to 245 N. Water St., Wichita, KS 67202.
Those needing assistance with shelter, basic needs or cleanup should dial 211, United Way’s information and referral service, to get connected with available resources.