WEATHER: America Under Attack - Most Powerful Storm System Devastates
Texas, Minnesota, Kansas, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska And
Oklahoma; Up To 50 Tornadoes Ravages Plains States; National Weather
Service Warns "You Could Be Killed If Not Underground Or In A Tornado
Shelter"; At Least 2 Dead, Many Injured; Widespread Destruction; Severe
Storm Outbreak Forecast To Continue!
"It's pretty bad. It's pretty much wiped out." - Pottawatomie County Sheriff Mike Booth.
May 20, 2013 - UNITED STATES - At
least two people were killed and 29 were injured in Oklahoma as a
severe storm system generated several tornadoes Sunday in Kansas,
Oklahoma and Iowa, leveling neighborhoods and sending frightened
residents scurrying for shelter as extreme conditions are expected to
linger across the Midwest. Another tornado touched down near Oklahoma
City Monday afternoon. The tornadoes, high winds and hail have been
part of a massive, northeastward-moving storm system that has stretched
from Texas to Minnesota. Victims and emergency responders might not get
much of a reprieve, as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration's Storm Prediction Center was forecasting similar weather
for Monday over much of the same area. The National Weather Service
was warning of the possibility of more tornadoes and baseball-sized hail
Monday, while residents of Arkansas, Kansas and Missouri were also
warned to watch for bad weather Monday.
|Terrifying: Those living in mobile homes were warned to take shelter in sturdier buildings.|
|Wild: The tornado was ripping across the plains of Kansas.|
|Monster: Two tornadoes hit Kansas on Sunday as severe weather warnings were issued across the Plain states.|
At least four separate twisters touched down in central Oklahoma late
Sunday afternoon, including one near the town of Shawnee, 35 miles
southeast of Oklahoma City, that laid waste to much of a mobile home
park. Oklahoma state medical examiner's office spokeswoman Amy Elliott
on Monday identified the two people who are confirmed to have been
killed as 79-year-old Glen Irish and 76-year-old Billy Hutchinson. Both
men were from Shawnee. Pottawatomie County Sheriff Mike Booth said
Irish was found dead out in the open at Steelman Estates, but the
sheriff didn't have details on where he had lived. "You can see where
there's absolutely nothing, then there are places where you have mobile
home frames on top of each other, debris piled up," Booth said. "It
looks like there's been heavy equipment in there on a demolition tour
... It's pretty bad. It's pretty much wiped out." The Shawnee tornado
was one of several that touched down in the nation's
midsection Sunday. Twisters, hail and high winds also struck Iowa and
Kansas as part of a devastating, northeastward-moving storm system that
stretched from Texas to Minnesota. Kansas, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri,
Nebraska and Oklahoma were ravaged by 50 tornadoes this weekend.
|Reunited: Christian hugs Wilkinson after they find Bella among the |
wreckage of Wilkinson's home shortly after a tornado struck on Sunday.
|Destruction: Marlena Hodson walks out of her home as her grandsons, |
Campbell Miller, 10, and Dillon Miller, 13, at right, help her sort
through belongings after a tornado damaged her home in Carney, Oklahoma.
|Recovery: Nancy and Jason Townsend sort through belongings after their home was hit by a tornado in Carney, Oklahoma.|
|Nothing left: Leah Hill, pictured left, of Shawnee, Oklahoma, is hugged |
by friend Sidney Sizemore, as they look through Hill's scattered
belongings from her home which was wrecked by a tornado.
|Response: At least 21 people were injured across Oklahoma as the storm tore through the region on Sunday.|
A storm spotter told the National Weather Service that the tornado
"scoured" the landscape in the park and an area along Interstate 40.
Officials said drivers should expect delays along the highway in Shawnee
as crews continue to clean up storm debris. Westbound Interstate 40 was
closed Sunday night at U.S. 177 after storms ripped through the area.
U.S. 177 was also shut down because of vehicle accidents caused by the
severe weather. The Oklahoma Department of Transportation said
northbound U.S. 177 at I-40 was reopened as of 7 a.m. Monday. Westbound
traffic on I-40 is narrowed to one lane, but all lanes are expected to
reopen later Monday morning. Across the state, 21 people were injured,
not including those who suffered bumps and bruises and chose not to
visit a hospital, said Keli Cain, a spokeswoman for the Oklahoma
Department of Emergency Management. Gov. Mary Fallin declared an
emergency for 16 Oklahoma counties because of the severe storms and
flooding. The declaration lets local governments acquire goods quickly
to respond to their residents' needs and puts the state in line for
federal help if it becomes necessary. In Enid, Okla. on Saturday, a
police officer was injured in high winds when his cruiser was struck by
an object. Area emergency manager Mike Honigsberg told The Oklahoman
that the car may have been hit by a cattle trough lifted by the wind. In
Oklahoma City, an officer was trapped for a time when surrounded by
fallen utility lines.
|Loss: Jerry Dirks, at right, hugs her friend Earlene Langley after a tornado hit Dirks' home just south of Carney Oklahoma.|
|Damage: Vehicles are seen amongst storm debris, which is what is left of|
a mobile home park destroyed by a tornado, west of Shawnee.
|Solitary: A flag flies in the debris of a mobile home after a tornado struck a mobile home park near Dale.|
|Rallying around: Residents help repair the roof of their neighbour's house which was damaged by a fallen tree in Shawnee.|
|Fierce: A destroyed truck was blown off the 40 freeway after a tornado swept through Shawnee, in Oklahoma.|
Another tornado grazed the Oklahoma City suburb of Edmond Sunday
afternoon, dropping hail as large as a grapefruit and damaging roofs and
structures before heading east. Aerial flyovers in Wellston, northeast
of Oklahoma City, showed significant property damage. "I knew it was
coming," said Edmond resident Randy Grau, who huddled with his wife and
two young boys in their Edmond home's safe room when the tornado hit. He
said he peered out his window as the weather worsened and believed he
saw a flock of birds heading down the street. "Then I realized it was
swirling debris," Grau said. "That's when we shut the door of the safe
room. I probably had them in there for 10 minutes." Dozen of counties
in Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, Oklahoma, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois and
Missouri were placed under tornado watches and warnings that were in
effect through late Sunday. In Wichita, Kan., a tornado touched down
near Mid-Content Airport on the city's southwest side shortly before 4
p.m., knocking out power to thousands of homes and businesses but
bypassing the most populated areas of Kansas' biggest city.
WATCH: Tornadoes sweeping through U.S. farmland.
The Wichita tornado was an EF1 -- the strength of tornado on the
enhanced Fujita scale -- with winds of 110 mph, according to the weather
service. Carl Brewer, the mayor of Wichita, told Fox News that the
city was hit harder by high winds and golf ball-sized hail than anything
from the tornado. "That alone, and the rain, actually just really did a
number on the city," he said. "It was so bad you think a tornado came
through." Brewer said hail ripped through the sides of houses in
Wichita, in addition to breaking windows and damaging cars. But Randy
Duncan, Wichita's emergency management director, told Fox News that he
has not yet heard of any local reports of injuries or deaths stemming
from the storm. Jim Raulston, of Wichita, said the ferocious winds
slammed the hailstones into his home. "It was just unbelievable how the
hail and everything was just coming straight sideways," Raulston said.
The National Weather Service also reported two tornadoes touched down
in Iowa — near Huxley and Earlham. Damage included the loss of some
cattle when the storm blew over a barn on a farm in Mitchell County.
Some 11,000 homes were without power early Monday. - FOX News.
'Major Damage' As Huge Tornado Rips Through Neighborhoods South Of Oklahoma City.
A monster tornado ripped through southern Oklahoma City and the suburb
of Moore on Monday afternoon, leaving homes and schools in ruins and
fires burning out of control. A forecaster for NBC station KFOR said
the tornado was kicking up a debris cloud about 2 miles wide as it
tracked east into residential neighborhoods in the Moore area.
Oklahoma City police told NBC News southern portions of the city as well
as the Moore suburb sustained "major damage... a lot of damage." Live
aerial video showed cars flipped over and crushed, several homes blown
out and in splinters and rescue crews as well as residents scouring
WATCH: Raw video contains
aerial shots of a neighborhood and school near Moore, Oklahoma after a
tornado touched down. Footage from affiliate KFOR.
Two elementary schools were heavily damaged, possibly completely
destroyed, KFOR reported. Those schools are Briarwood Elementary in
Oklahoma City and Plaza Towers Elementary in Moore, Okla. Tens of
millions of people in the Midwest are on edge as forecasters warn severe
conditions could continue for the next couple days. NBC News' Jay Gray
reports. It appeared, however, as if the twister was dissipating and
would miss the downtown area, The Weather Channel reported.
Parts of the Oklahoma City metropolitan area remained under a tornado
warning. Video from a KFOR helicopter showed what appeared to be a
clearly defined tornado touching down outside the city. Tens of
millions of people from Texas to the Great Lakes were warned to brace
for severe weather one day after a tornado outbreak killed two elderly
men in Oklahoma and turned a trailer park into splinters. The gravest
threat appeared to be in Oklahoma and parts of Missouri, but forecasters
warned that strong storms, damaging wind and pounding hail were
possible as far north as Minnesota and Wisconsin. In all, an area
covering 55 million people was under risk of severe weather, the
National Weather Service said.
WATCH: Tens of millions of
people in the Midwest are on edge as forecasters warn severe conditions
could continue for the next couple days. NBC News' Jay Gray reports.
On Sunday, twisters killed two men in Shawnee, Okla., ages 79 and 76,
and injured 21 others. The state medical examiner confirmed the second
death Monday morning. The storms also destroyed mobile homes, flipped
trucks and sent people across 100 miles running for cover. In Kansas, a
weather forecaster was forced off the air as a tornado bore down on his
station. “You can see where there’s absolutely nothing, then there are
places where you have mobile home frames on top of each other, debris
piled up,” Mike Booth, the sheriff of Pottawatomie County, Okla., told
The Associated Press. “It looks like there’s been heavy equipment in
there on a demolition tour.”
The weather service office in Norman even posted a Twitter alert warning of a tornado about to strike one town:
A National Weather Service advisory
warned: 'You could be killed if not underground or in a tornado
shelter.' 'Complete destruction of neighborhoods, businesses and
vehicles will occur. Flying debris will be deadly to people and
animals.' At least four separate tornadoes touched down in
central Oklahoma on Sunday afternoon, including one near the town of
Shawnee, 35 miles southeast of Oklahoma City, that laid waste to much of
a trailer park. Oklahoma
Gov. Mary Fallin declared a state of emergency for 16 counties. In
Edmond, Randy Grau said he looked out a window and saw what he thought
was a flock of birds heading down the street. “Then I realized it was
swirling debris,” he told The Weather Channel.
“That’s when we shut the door of the safe room.” In Wichita, Kan., a
tornado touched down near the airport. Two tornadoes touched down Sunday
night outside Des Moines, Iowa. The
storm system is making a slow march east. Severe storms will threaten
the same part of the country Tuesday and parts of the Northeast on
Wednesday, the weather service said. - NBC News.
Severe Storm Outbreak Continues.
Severe storms may erupt from Oklahoma to Minnesota on Monday as the
storm system that spawned several tornadoes across the Plains on
Saturday and Sunday shifts slowly to the east. Oklahoma City, Tulsa, St.
Louis, Cedar Rapids and Minneapolis are among the cities at risk for
severe weather. Damaging winds greater than 60 mph, large hail and
tornadoes are possible with the strongest thunderstorms that develop.
The greatest risk for tornadoes is expected from north of Dallas, Texas,
and Oklahoma to central Missouri, according to AccuWeather
Meteorologist Brian Edwards. The most violent storms will ignite during
the afternoon and evening hours as daytime heating causes instability.
Plenty of humid air will be in place to fuel the severe storms. Keep
checking back with AccuWeather.com for the latest information on the
severe storm outbreak. - AccuWeather.
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