Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Deadly Tornadoes Churn Across Oklahoma, Kansas, Arkansa

Tornadoes sweeping the US Mid-West have struck near Oklahoma City, hitting vehicles on a section of motorway west of the Oklahoma state capital. Tuesday's 'supercell' storms came just two days after a massive tornado tore through the southwest Missouri town of Joplin, killing at least 123 people and injuring hundreds more, according to authorities.

Early Wednesday, the storm system was contributing to sleepless nights from Iowa to Texas, pelting many areas with golf ball-size hail. The city was briefly under a tornado warning late Tuesday before it was raked by blustery winds and peppered with lightning.

In the average year, 62 Americans are killed by twisters, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency. So far this year, more than 480 have died - and the tornado season, which runs from April through July, is only half over. The tornadoes formed from storm systems that began in western Oklahoma state and began travelling north-east in the afternoon.

“We are now on pace for a record year for tornado fatalities,” Schneider said on conference call with reporters today. “I think we have to be aware that we are just now entering the peak of the season.” The emergency director for Canadian County, Jerry Smith, said two people in his county had been killed, but he had no details on how they died.

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