The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

World, nation, state

May 20, 2013

Tornadoes level homes in Okla., hit other states

EDMOND, Okla. — One of several tornadoes that touched down Sunday in Oklahoma turned homes in a trailer park near Oklahoma City into splinters and rubble and sent frightened residents along a 100-mile corridor scurrying for shelter.

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 central Oklahoma late Sunday afternoon, including the one near the town of Shawnee, 35 miles southeast of Oklahoma City, that laid waste to much of a mobile home park.

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 Interstate 40.

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, including the first of the afternoon that hit Edmond, a suburb north of Oklahoma City, before making its way toward Tulsa, 90 miles to the northeast.

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.

There were also two reports of tornadoes touching down in Iowa Sunday night, including one near Huxley, about 20 miles north of Des Moines, and one in Grundy County, which is northeast of Des Moines, according to the Des Moines Register. There were no immediate reports of major damage or injuries.

In Oklahoma, aerial television news footage showed homes that appeared to have suffered significant damage northeast of Oklahoma City.

The Storm Prediction Center had been warning about severe weather in the region since Wednesday, and on Friday, it zeroed in on Sunday as the day the storm system would likely pass through.

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