In the wake of tornadoes and severe storms that struck several areas of Kansas on Tuesday evening, Gov. Laura Kelly issued a statement Wednesday morning in which she said the state is working to get help to those affected by the storms while also praising the work of emergency responders.

“My thoughts are with all Kansans impacted by the destructive tornadoes in Douglas, Leavenworth, Mitchell, Russell, Trego, and Wyandotte Counties last night," Kelly said in her statement. "We will be working closely with your local emergency management personnel to get you the resources and support you need.

“Kansas is experiencing a historic month of extreme weather — from tornadoes to heavy rain and flooding to severe thunderstorms. This is challenging for our emergency personnel and local officials across the state. I want to sincerely thank all of our local, state, federal partners and voluntary organizations who are working very hard, long hours to keep people safe, assist communities and give neighbors a place to shelter. The State of Kansas is grateful.

“At times like this, it is absolutely critical that we put safety first and heed all warnings from local emergency management officials," Kelly continued. "Please stay away from damaged areas and allow emergency responders the space to do their jobs. We will continue to work with Major General Lee Tafanelli and the Kansas Division of Emergency Management as they coordinate resources to assess the damage and needs of these communities and deliver support.

“As Kansans, we must look out for each other during this difficult time — we must do what we can to assist our friends and neighbors impacted by these devastating storms. Consider donating to or volunteering with the American Red Cross helping in the areas.”

The governor will not tour the impacted areas Wednesday to allow emergency management personnel to complete search-and-rescue operations and other lifesaving missions and perform damage assessments, said Ashley All, Kelly's director of communications. The governor will tour the areas on Thursday, All said.