Several states are recovering from a major outbreak of tornadoes over the weekend that left two peope dead and nearly two dozen others injured and more tornadoes are likely.
An outbreak of tornadoes that began on Saturday in the Central Plains in the heart of Tornado Alley, expanded on Sunday, hitting several states including Iowa, Missouri, Oklahoma, Kansas and Illinois, according to the Storm Prediction Center (SPC).
At least 24 tornadoes were reported with the state of Oklahoma receiving the brunt of the damage and destruction.
Hundreds of homes were damaged or completely destroyed by what the National Weather Service (NWS) said were at least two large, long-tracked tornadoes.
KOCO-TV reported one of those tornadoes completely leveled a mobile home park near the city of Shawnee, killing two men, whose bodies were found out in the open. The medical examiner’s office confirmed Glen Irish, 79 and Bill Hutchinson, 76, both died in the storm.
“You can see where there’s absolutely nothing, then there are places where you have mobile home frames on top of each other, debris piled up,” Pottawatomie County Sheriff Mike Booth said
Multiple vehicles were also flipped over on a busy stretch of Interstate 40 near Shawnee, where several people were injured.
Across the state, at least 21 people were injured, not including those who suffered bumps and bruises and chose not to visit a hospital, said Keli Cain, a spokeswoman for the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management.
Gov. Mary Fallin declared an emergency for 16 Oklahoma counties that suffered from severe storms and flooding during the weekend. The declaration lets local governments acquire goods quickly to respond to their residents’ needs and puts the state in line for federal help if it becomes necessary.
In Kansas, a half-mile wide, EF-1 tornado hit just southwest of the city of Wichita, tracking for 4.6 miles on the ground around 3:30 p.m. CDT Sunday, according to the NWS. Fortunately, no one was injured but numerous trees and power lines were downed with some structural damage reported.
In Iowa, emergency managers reported scattered areas of significant damage from reported tornadoes. The tornadoes ended an all-time record of 359 days without a tornado in the state.
The SPC issued a total of 12 tornado watches over the weekend with eight of those on Sunday. The NWS was prompted to issue 68 tornado warnings for rotating severe storms.
The threat for severe storms and tornadoes are expected to continue through Tuesday across a wide area from the Great Lakes region, southwest to Oklahoma and Texas.
An enhanced risk for more strong and violent tornadoes exist from central and eastern Oklahoma across northwestern Arkansas and into southwestern Missouri by late Monday afternoon.
The month of May is historically the most active and most dangerous of the year for U.S. tornadoes.
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