Tornadoes level homes in Oklahoma; 21 injured
One of several tornadoes that touched down in Oklahoma turned homes in a trailer park near into splinters and rubble and sent frightened residents scurrying for shelter. At least 21 people were injured across the state.
The tornadoes that touched down in Oklahoma, Kansas and Iowa were part of a massive, northeastward-moving storm system that stretched from Texas to Minnesota.
At least four separate tornadoes touched down in Oklahoma late afternoon yesterday, including the one near the town of Shawnee that laid waste to much of a mobile home park.
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.
Reports of injuries in that tornado strike couldn't immediately be confirmed, as getting into the area was made difficult by the overturned tractor-trailers that forced the closure of a section of a highway.
A storm spotter told the National Weather Service that the tornado left the earth "scoured" at the mobile home park.
Forecasters had been warning for days that the weekend storm system could produce tornadoes, and emergency responders throughout the region were keeping a close eye on it yesterday night as it moved northeastward. Tornado watches or warnings were in effect through late yesterday in several states.
Dozens of homes were damaged by the other tornadoes that touched down in Oklahoma, but emergency officials had no immediate reports of injuries caused by any of them.
In Wichita, Kansas, a tornado knocked out power to thousands of homes and businesses but bypassed the most populated areas of the state's biggest city.