A spate of tornadoes and heavy storms blew across the Midwest Saturday, leaving five dead and 29 injured as well as a path of destruction that included a hospital and scores of homes and businesses.
Authorities in Oklahoma said five people were killed when a twister touched down around 12:18 a.m. Sunday near the western town of Woodward, about 140 miles northwest of Oklahoma City. High winds knocked down trees and power lines, and damaged homes and other structures.
Officials said the bulk of the damage to the town of about 12,000 people occurred on the west side and outskirts. Search teams worked well into the morning hours looking for trapped victims, authorities said.
In addition, storms were also reported in Iowa, Kansas and Nebraska, as high winds and heavy rain pelted a wide swath of Missouri and Arkansas, reports said. More rain is forecast for the area Sunday.
Earlier in the week, the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla., which specializes in predicting tornadoes, warned of a “high-end, life-threatening event” some two days before twisters swept through late Saturday.
A spokesman for the center, Chris Vaccaro, said officials there had received 97 reports of tornadoes by dawn Sunday. He added that survey teams were being sent out to investigate more details about the reported tornadoes, including the actual number.
On Sunday, Vaccaro said more inclement weather was expected throughout the weekend.
“Severe weather is possible in a swath from Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan south to eastern Texas and Louisiana,” he told The Associated Press.
Meanwhile, officials in Iowa said a large part of Thurman, a town located in the western part of the state, was destroyed by a tornado Saturday night. No one killed or injured, according to Fremont County authorities, but reports said three-quarters of the town of 250 was demolished.
In Nebraska, officials reported hail the size of baseballs, which shattered windows and tore siding off of houses in Petersburg, about 140 miles northwest of Omaha. In southeast Nebraska, a tornado reported destroyed barns, large trees and smaller rural structures, authorities said.
The National Weather Service had warned early Saturday that a major tornado outbreak was likely throughout the Midwest and Plains states
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