Tornado churns through Oklahoma suburbs

2013-05-20 23:17
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Deadly tornado strikes Oklahoma

A massive tornado left dozens dead in Oklahoma, US. See photos of the aftermath.

Oklahoma City - A 1.6km-wide tornado churned through the Oklahoma City suburbs, destroying homes for the second day in a row on Monday, as part of a severe weather outbreak that was expected to spread across the region.

A massive black-and-blue cloud dragged across the landscape just south of Will Rogers World Airport.

Television video showed debris from homes and businesses being carried aloft as the twister rolled through Moore, a community on the south side of Oklahoma City. There were no immediate reports of injuries.

In advance of the storm, the Oklahoma House of Representatives stopped work so Capitol employees could take shelter in the basement. Television and radio broadcasters urged residents to take shelter because the storm's strength and size.

"We're just waiting to see what happens. It's a mile-wide tornado. It's still grinding out," said Mark Meyers, a spokesperson for the Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office. "We are currently on standby for tornado response. Whatever happens, we'll be ready to respond."

The strongest winds on earth to date - 486km/h - were recorded near Moore during a tornado on 3 May 1999.

The Storm Prediction Center in Norman had predicted a major outbreak of severe weather on Monday in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma.

Storms on Sunday killed two people near Shawnee, southeast of Oklahoma City.

Governor Mary Fallin earlier on Monday took a tour of the areas hardest hit and she expressed concern that, with power out, Oklahomans might not receive warnings about the new round of storms.

Pottawatomie County Sheriff Mike Booth said a 79-year-old man was found dead Sunday out in the open at a mobile home park near Shawnee.

The state medical examiner's office said on Monday that a 76-year-old man, Billy Hutchinson, was found dead in a vehicle.

Read more on:    us  |  weather  |  oklahoma tornado

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