The storm that struck Galatia 10:10 p.m. Jan. 29 has been classified by the National Weather Service as an F-2 tornado with winds up to 115 mph, according to Saline County Emergency Management Agency Coordinator Allan C. Ninness.
The tornado’s path was measured at 6,000 feet — a bit over a mile — at a width measured at 100 yards wide or about two blocks in spots. The Fujita Tornado Damage Scale rates tornados between F0 with light damage involving broken branches sign boards and some trees pushed over to F5 which is devastating.
Ninness said various stories abound about the number injured and the nature of those injuries. He has heard both two and three individuals were injured, but has not confirmed reports with family members.
Ninness has compiled preliminary damage assessments for Galatia that report 28 properties were affected. Those include:
- 22 single family structures.
- Two multi family structures, both Saline County Housing Authority properties with four apartments each. Three of the eight units are uninhabitable.
- Four manufactured homes.
Of those two are classified total losses, eight are classified habitable with repairs and 18 are classified habitable without repairs.
The figures do not include damage to outbuildings, barns or unattached garages, though many were damaged in the village.
The Red Cross housed three residents in the Galatia First Baptist Church Family Life Outreach Center Jan. 29. All had made other arrangements Wednesday night — either staying in motels or with family, Ninness said, though the shelter would remain available if they need it. The Saline County Housing Authority made arrangements for residents in the three apartment buildings.
Red Cross had six volunteers working Tuesday night and five Wednesday night, out of both the church FLOC Building and Village Hall.
“There are going to be caseworkers in town (Thursday),” Ninness said.
The Baptist Chainsaw Ministry is in town helping to clear trees and clearing debris out of town is on the agenda for village officials. Ninness said one of the goals of a meeting 11:30 a.m. today at Village Hall was to coordinate removal of debris taken to curbs.
Though there is considerable damage that will take time to clean up, Ninness said the tornado’s path appeared more isolated — affecting mainly the north section of town — than Galatia’s last tornado in 2002. That fact is of little solace to those who have lost everything.
“You have the same pain in the people who have lost their possessions, belongings and home,” Ninness said.