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Storms Blamed for 2 Deaths in Central Kansas

The Kansas Highway Patrol says two people have been killed by a tree that was propelled into their van by high winds amid violent weather hitting the central part of the state.

GREAT BEND, Kan. -- The Kansas Highway Patrol says two people have been killed by a tree that was propelled into their van by high winds amid violent weather hitting the central part of the state.

The patrol says the accident happened around 6 p.m. Tuesday on Highway 281 near the small Stafford County town of St. John, several miles south of Great Bend. The highway was shut down because of storm damage.

Highway Patrol officials also say an apartment complex was hit by lightning and caught fire northeast of Great Bend. Barton County authorities have issued a local disaster declaration.

More than three dozen tornado warnings were issued by the National Weather Service from the western border across central Kansas beginning at midafternoon Tuesday. Several funnel clouds and a few brief tornadoes were reported.

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