TORNADOES: Iowa, Kansas, Oklahoma hammered - KMSP-TV

TORNADOES: Iowa, Kansas, Oklahoma hammered

Posted: Updated:
Hail in McLoud, OK | Sent to photos@fox9 from Mamaj Blitzer Hail in McLoud, OK | Sent to photos@fox9 from Mamaj Blitzer
(FOX NEWS) -

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.

The tornadoes, high winds and hail were part of a massive, northeastward-moving storm system that 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 tornadoes and baseball-sized hail Monday, while residents of Arkansas, Kansas and Missouri were also warned to watch for bad weather Monday.

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."

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.

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. 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.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/weather/2013/05/20/oklahoma-braces-for-severe-storms/#ixzz2TqvTEjzQ

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


 

Powered by WorldNow

KMSP-TV
11358 Viking Drive
Eden Prairie, MN 55344

Phone: (952) 944-9999
Fax: (952) 942-0455

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices