Violent Tornadoes Sweep Through Midwest, Hammers Woodward, Oklahoma, 29 Injured Five Dead, Highlight Hollywood News

As people across the U.S. await further tornado warnings overnight on Sunday, residents were scouring through damaged homes and debris across the Midwest on Sunday morning and afternoon after a violent storm system unleashed tornadoes that left five people dead and at least 29 injured in Oklahoma, damaging a hospital, homes and other buildings. Oklahoma emergency officials said five people died after a tornado touched down at 12:18 a.m. Sunday in and around the northwest Oklahoma town of Woodward, the high winds damaging homes, toppling trees and downing power lines about 140 miles northwest of Oklahoma City. The brunt of the damage was reported on the west side of the town of about 12,000 and its outskirts, where search teams scoured the rubble for hours for any still trapped or injured.

Storms also were reported in Kansas, Iowa and Nebraska as a wide-ranging storm system lumbered its way across the nation’s midsection Saturday and Sunday. Lightning, large hail and heavy downpours accompanied the system, which was so large that it still posed a severe weather threat from Minnnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan in the north to eastern Texas and Louisiana hundreds of miles to the south.

More than 144 tornadoes had been reported across the region by daybreak, according to the National Weather Service. Although the storms were weakening and additional tornadoes were unlikely, forecasters warned that strong thunderstorms were expected as far east as Michigan.

Five people were killed and more than two dozen were injured when a suspected tornado ripped through a mobile home park in Woodward, Okla., about 140 miles northwest of Oklahoma City. Streets in the 12,000-resident town were left dotted with mangled vehicles, toppled power lines and leveled buildings.

The outbreak began when tornado sirens went off before dawn in Oklahoma City on Saturday. As the wide-ranging storm system lumbered across the nation, storms also were reported in Kansas, Iowa and Nebraska. Lightning, large hail and heavy downpours accompanied the system.

The Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla., which specializes in tornado forecasting, had warned of a “high-end, life-threatening event” nearly two days before the bad weather hit. It was just the second time in U.S. history that the center issued a high-risk warning more than 24 hours in advance. The first was in April 2006, when nearly 100 tornadoes tore across the southeastern U.S., killing a dozen people and damaging more than 1,000 homes in Tennessee.

The center’s spokesman, Chris Vaccaro, said the weather service had received at least 97 reports of tornadoes by dawn Sunday and survey teams would be heading out to investigate and determine the number of actual tornadoes, their highest winds, and the width and length of their destructive paths. Several large funnel clouds and tornadoes were photographed and videotapedĀ  during the outbreak.

Please contact your local American Red Cross to offer support to those ravaged over the weekend by tornadoes.

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Written By: Tommy Lightfoot Garrett
Photographs are Courtesy: Oklahoma Weather Service
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