People in the area were adequately warned of the tornado in advance, McCoy stressed.
In Lawrence, the police department said the tornado struck just outside of the city limits.
It first touched down just after 6 p.m. about 12.5 miles west-northwest of Baldwin City, meteorologists said.
Kim Buchanan, deputy director of Emergency Management in Leavenworth County, estimated about 30 houses in the area were damaged, NPR member station KCUR reported. Kansas City and its suburbs were under a tornado warning Tuesday evening.
This year, those numbers doubled and researchers say there was a tornado somewhere in the Sooner State for six consecutive days between May 20 and May 25. It shows 935 preliminary tornado reports for 2019 so far, compared to 1,169 for all of a year ago.
The National Weather Service says damage also was reported in Linwood, Bonner Springs and Pleasant Grove.
Outbreaks of 50 or more tornadoes are not uncommon, having happened 63 times in USA history, with three instances of more than 100 twisters, said Patrick Marsh, warning coordination meteorologist for the federal Storm Prediction Center. May is typically the month with the highest incidence of tornadoes, usually in the Plains and Midwestern states collectively known as Tornado Alley, where most of this year's twisters have hit. The airport later said it was closed as crews cleared debris.
"There has been a very persistent, unusual weather pattern of record or near-record highs across the Southeast", Walker said.
Residents in Pendleton, about 56 km northeast of Indianapolis, were being urged to remain in their homes Tuesday morning because of dangers posed by fallen trees, downed power lines and utility poles that were also blocking roads. Several apartment buildings were damaged or destroyed, including one complex where the entire roof was torn away, and at least three dozen people were treated at emergency rooms for cuts, bumps and bruises. But KCTV meteorologist Brett Anthony saw damage on the south side of Lawrence. DeWine said people who didn't have basements took shelter in their bathtubs.
Residents and volunteers worked on Tuesday to clean up debris and fix homes in Celina, Ohio, where a tornado touched down and killed an 81-year-old man. It was on the ground for 32 miles. "I was hit by debris in my head", Sussman said.
"I feel lucky I'm alive", he said.
The storm injured seven people in Celina, three of them seriously, Hazel said, and about 40 homes there were seriously damaged or destroyed. "We'll take good care of you".
Rains this week are exacerbating flooding that has troubled parts of the central USA for weeks.
The river is expected to crest sometime on Wednesday, but not until it has risen at least two additional feet. The Mississippi River already is approaching all-time records at several Missouri and IL communities.
Those warnings certainly saved many lives in Celina, he said. On Monday, the Army Corps of Engineers announced it will open Louisiana's Morganza Spillway to help control the water level. Doing so will increase the strain on some of Tulsa's levees, Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum said.
"I think it's a 500-year flood and so far our dam and levees are doing what they were created to do", Sawn, 68, said.
"There is absolutely no need to wait until the last minute when an evacuation might be necessary", he said at a news conference.