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Sat April 14, 2012
Tornadoes, Storms Swirl Through Midwest And Plains
Originally published on Sun April 15, 2012 7:29 am
The midsection of the U.S. was wracked by storms and tornadoes overnight, with the National Weather Service's Storm Prediction Center forecasting more severe weather to come. Five deaths have been confirmed in northwest Oklahoma, the state's Department of Emergency Management tells NPR.
Storms were reported in Kansas, Iowa, Nebraska and Oklahoma, according to The Associated Press. There have been more than 100 reports of unconfirmed tornadoes, Brian Thompson of Kansas Public Radio tells our Newscast unit.
"Storms were erupting faster than spotters could tally them all," the AP says.
The town of Thurman, Iowa, suffered major damage, the AP reports. Fremont County Emergency Management director Mike Crecelius tells the AP about 75 percent of the town was destroyed, though there were no reports of injuries or death.
KSN in Kansas reports at least one building at the Spirit AeroSystems plant in Wichita collapsed, and there is hangar damage at McConnell Air Force Base.
The base moved 16 aerial refueling tankers in anticipation of the storm, J. Schafer of Kansas Public Radio tells our Newscast unit. He says the multimillion-dollar airplanes were relocated to North Dakota.
Update at 5:35 a.m. ET. NPR Confirmation:
The Medical Examiner's Office confirms that there have been five fatalities in Woodward, according to Keli Cain of the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management. Cain tells our Newscast unit that the storms are still moving through the state.
"The storms have weakened, so they're not posing the same threat that they were up in the Woodward area," she says.
Cain says assessment of the damage is ongoing.
Update at 5:10 a.m. ET. Death Toll Rises:
"We're hearing of what sounds to be significant damage in the area," spokeswoman Keli Cain for the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management told The New York Times. "We have injuries and quite a bit of damage to homes and buildings."
Update at 4:12 a.m. ET. Reports Of Fatalities In Okla.:
There are reports of at least two deaths in Oklahoma. The AP says authorities confirm two people died after a reported tornado in Woodward, Okla. The Woodward County Sheriff's Department also confirmed two deaths with MSNBC.
News9 in Oklahoma reports four fatalities after a tornado hit Woodward, citing Oklahoma Highway Patrol.
The mayor of Woodward, Roscoe Hill, told the AP that sirens were apparently not working when the tornado hit, though they had been working for storms Saturday.