A large tornado touched down Tuesday evening south of Lawrence in Douglas County, destroying multiple houses located near US-59 highway.

It wasn't immediately clear whether anyone had been hurt, though Kansas Highway Patrol superintendent Herman Jones said about 7:50 p.m. that no injured people had been located yet.

Roughly a half-hour elapsed between the time the tornado touched down about 6:07 p.m. south of Lone Star Lake and the time it went airborne, apparently while exiting Douglas County in the general area of Eudora, said Jennifer Prieto, meteorologist for the National Weather Service office in Topeka.

It wasn't clear whether the tornado had been on the ground that entire time, Prieto said. The weather service planned to be out Wednesday gathering further information.

Douglas County Emergency Management described the tornado on Twitter as being "large and destructive."

It indicated about 8,000 people in Lawrence remained without electrical power about 7:45 p.m.

The Kansas Turnpike Authority tweeted at 6:43 p.m. that because of the tornado warning involved, it had closed the eastbound turnpike at its east Lawrence exit at mile marker 204 and the westbound turnpike at its Bonner Springs exit at mile marker 224.

The tornado touched down on a day when the weather service had cautioned in advance that numerous severe storms were likely in central, north-central and northeast Kansas, including Topeka.

Early Tuesday afternoon, some storms moved through an area north of Topeka. Terri Keitel provided The Topeka Capital-Journal a photo of large hail that had fallen 8 miles north of Holton in Jackson County.

Meanwhile, U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., announced he had sent President Donald Trump a letter urging him to act swiftly in approving a request Gov. Laura Kelly submitted to him Sunday asking for federal disaster relief and emergency protective measures regarding recent severe weather and historic flooding.

Moran wrote, "I do not remember a time where flooding in my state has been worse."

The Army Corps of Engineers announced that beginning Wednesday it would start releasing floodwater from Tuttle Creek Dam at an anticipated rate of 15,000 cubic feet per second.

Kansas Adjutant General Lee Tafanelli's office announced that water levels at several U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reservoirs were being closely monitored, including Perry Lake, Tuttle Creek, Toronto Lake, Fall River Lake, Elk City Lake and John Redmond Reservoir.

Perry Lake began releasing water on Sunday and was continuing Tuesday to do so at a rate of 5,000 cubic feet per second, Tafanelli's office said in a news release.

The water releases came at a time when officials have felt particularly concerned about the state's reservoirs, many of which have been at risk of needing to further release water to prevent any challenges to the structural integrity of their dams.

"The levees along the Verdigris River near Coffeyville are being watched due to the water levels threatening the Coffeyville Resources refinery," Tuesday's news release said. "Multiple state resources have been deployed to support local operations with a potential levee overtop and/or breach. These resources include Kansas National Guard soldiers, mobile light towers, water rescue resources and hazardous material teams."

The American Red Cross was offering active flood relief shelters at Coffeyville and Neodesha, while a pet shelter was operating at Independence, the release said.