This tornado chaser did not expect what was about to jet his way
Following repeated thunderstorms and tornado warnings on Wednesday, Kansas communities are regaining their footing. In Rawlins County, a tornado wreaked havoc, destroying a historic schoolhouse.
When it comes to the ancient schoolhouse, Gary Kasten says, “That structure was actually built in 1898.” The land on which the Walsh schoolhouse stood is owned by Kasten and his family. June Hesterman, his sister, stated it was one of just two one-room schoolhouses left in the county.
Take a look at the shocking footage here:
The family renovated the schoolhouse in 2014, but the tornado on Wednesday swept out all of their hard work.
“That building is gone; it was torn down from the foundation, and the remnants were hauled away on Thursday,” Kastens added. “It’s pretty devastating; the strength of a tornado is mind-boggling to me.”
The family picked up the pieces on Thursday. Their farmstead was also devastated by the tornado.
“Just a lot of debris scattered,” Gary Kasten said. “Debris was picked up for well over a half-mile from the farmstead.” He explained, “So there’s still a lot to do.”
According to the National Weather Service, the tornado was damaging, but its course limited the damage.
“It went over a lot of fields, including unplanted fields,” said Ryan Husted, a National Weather Service warning coordination meteorologist in Goodland. “It could have been a lot worse if this had happened in a town, as we saw with Selden.”
The school is no longer there, but the communal spirit lives on.
“In the worst-case scenarios, our small communities band together and truly care for one another,” Husted added.
Kastens added, “They just take a day out of their busy schedule and come out, which we really appreciate.”
The Walsh Schoolhouse will not be rebuilt by the family. They were able to recover a few parts, however. They might put them in a museum, according to Hesterman.