Tornado kills man, destroys 20 homes in US town

A man was pronounced dead shortly after being taken to Newman Regional Hospital in Emporia, about 30 kilometres from where the tornado hit last night in Reading, hospital supervisor Deb Gould said.

She said two other people were brought in with injuries but she had no further details. Five people were injured in all, along with the person killed, said Sharon Watson, the spokeswoman for the Kansas Division of Emergency Management.

About 200 homes were damaged in and around the town of about 250 people, Watson said. The local post office and volunteer fire department were damaged, and all roads in and out of the town have been closed off.

Reading is about 80 kilometres south of Topeka.

Power had been restored in the town by early today, and a shelter was set up at a local school. The tornado was reported about 9:15 pm local time yesterday, Watson said.

While many states have been struck by severe storms this spring, Kansas has been having one of its lightest tornado seasons in decades, according to the National Weather Service.

Until yesterday, no tornadoes had been reported in May, a month that averages nearly 30. Last May, 127 tornadoes tore through the state.

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