Mon, May 26, 2008 - Page 7 News List

Severe storms, twisters continue to batter central US

AP , OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLAHOMA

Wood panels and roof shingles lie in front of a Windsor, Colorado, home on Saturday. A tornado ripped through the town on Thursday. Inclement weather, including twisters, has also hit Oklahoma and Kansas in recent days.

PHOTO: AP

A slow-moving storm packing tornadoes and hail battered rural Oklahoma, destroying several buildings, tearing up trees and tossing a mobile home onto a highway. The bodies were found of two killed in Kansas storms a day earlier.

A twister destroyed three barns at a hog farm on Saturday in Kingfisher County, about 120km northwest of Oklahoma City, said Michelann Ooten, a spokeswoman for the Oklahoma Emergency Management Department.

No injuries were reported at the farm or elsewhere in the state.

“It’s all been out mostly in the countryside,” Kingfisher County Sheriff’s dispatcher Lonnie McDade said. “But that farm happened to be in the path and took a direct hit.”

About 100 people have died in US twisters so far this year, the worst toll in a decade, the weather service said, and the danger has not passed yet. Tornado season typically peaks in the spring and early summer, then again in the late fall.

The pace of the Oklahoma storm was slow for a system producing so many tornadoes, said Daryl Williams, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Norman, Oklahoma.

“It gives us time to get the warnings out, but where the tornadoes are on the ground, it creates a lot more damage,” Williams said. “We’ve been lucky because this has been mostly rural areas, but it’s not lucky if it’s your farm.”

Saturday’s storm followed two days of violent weather in the Midwest. In Kansas, cleanup was under way a day after a storm system raked the state with at least 17 tornadoes.

That storm killed at least two people, injured at least six others and heavily damaged at least 19 homes, authorities said.

The two people killed in the storm were found on Saturday in a car near Pratt, the Pratt County Sheriff’s Office said. The vehicle had been blown 140m off a highway.

Authorities are also looking into whether lightning killed a camper in Osage County.

A Kansas Highway Patrol aircraft flew along the path of the tornado to search for other possible victims.

In northern Colorado, where a tornado struck on Thursday, killing one person and damaging hundreds of homes, residents of the hard-hit farming town of Windsor were allowed into their neighborhoods on Saturday to assess the damage and in some cases, salvage what they could.

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