UPDATE: EF2 tornado causes massive damage across Manhattan, at greek houses

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Damage to a fence north of the Beta Sigma Psi greek house on the northeast side of campus from the June 11 storms. (Landon Reinhardt | Collegian Media Group)

Editor’s Note: On Thursday, June 16, the National Weather Service announced that an EF2 tornado did touch down around the Kansas State campus in Manhattan after conducting a follow-up survey. This article has been updated to reflect this new information.

Riley County officials estimate that storm damage in the Manhattan area from what was originally considered “straight-line wind” on June 11 is around $9.74 million.

Following a new damage survey from the National Weather Service, a 50-yard wide EF2 tornado did touch down around the Kansas State campus, reaching winds up to 115 mph.

Structures located in the McCain neighborhood area, east of the Kansas State campus, were hit hard. According to Riley County officials, Manhattan’s Risk Reduction Division declared five structures in that area condemned and unsafe to occupy. The Associated Press states there are no reported injuries or casualties from the storm.

Two unoccupied greek houses — Chi Omega and Kappa Alpha Theta — and three single-family homes in the area suffered severe damage. Beta Sigma Psi, another greek house in the McCain neighborhood, also sustained damage, especially to its fences.

“I was shocked to hear that my house for next year had been hit, it is kind of something you never expect to happen to you,” Lydia Micek, sophomore in biochemistry, said.

Micek, as well as Megan Whorley, sophomore in human development and family studies, are members of Chi Omega and planned on moving into the house this upcoming school year.

“One of my good friends and I that are both a part of Chi Omega were together when she was receiving random updates about the possible tornado weather in Manhattan,” Whorley said. “I honestly did not think much of it until we were sent photos of the destruction to both the Chi O house and our neighboring sorority Theta. It made my heart drop.”

Across campus from the McCain neighborhood at The Pointe apartments, Abbie Ainsworth, junior in communication studies, said she heard the tornado alert from her phone at 7:15 p.m. Five minutes later, she heard the distinct sound of a tornado warning.

“I got a crazy loud warning on my phone that Riley County was under a tornado warning so I immediately looked out the window and noticed the rain had started, and the sirens started outside,” Ainsworth said. “I usually wouldn’t be so worried but because I was all alone in my apartment I was scared.”

Ainsworth said she received a second warning via her phone at 7:45 p.m., then the storm intensified.

“After the second warning, all of a sudden my lights went out and at this point, I had no service,” Ainsworth said. “I ended up grabbing two flashlights and sitting in my bathtub until the sirens stopped.”

Ainsworth said that after the storm slowed down, debris and broken tree branches surrounded her apartment, but she and her neighbors were safe.

(Landon Reinhardt | Collegian Media Group)
A tree in the northeast K-State parking lot split in half by the June 11 storm. (Landon Reinhardt | Collegian Media Group)

“I am very thankful the worst thing that happened was the power going out and trees falling around the parking lot,” Ainsworth said, “because all around Manhattan, there were huge trees ripped from the ground laying on the street.”

According to KSNT, anyone with storm debris can drop them off for free at the Riley County Transfer Station at 1881 Henton Road. Riley County asks that residents contact their trash hauler for more information about how to safely dispose of structural debris.

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