Another round of killer tornadoes tore through the Midwest on Tuesday, leaving at least five people dead in Oklahoma and two both in Kansas and Arkansas.
Several twisters shot through Oklahoma City and its suburbs during rush hour, killing five and leaving 60 injured, including three kids in critical condition.
The new line of high-powered storms struck just two days after a massive tornado barreled through Joplin, Mo., killing at least 122 people and injuring 750, officials said.
Four people died in El Reno, west of Oklahoma City, where winds were clocked up to 151 mph. A 26-year-old woman died when a tornado smashed into her mobile home in Chickasha, southwest of Oklahoma City, said police.
In Kansas, a twister hurled a huge tree onto a car in the town of St. John, killing two people.
Storm systems spawning tornadoes and baseball-sized hail also moved north and east across north Texas last night, filling the sky with debris but causing noinjuries.
In Arlington, Tex., tornado sirens began screaming in Rangers Ballpark during the fourth inning of the Rangers-White Sox game.
As the sky turned pitch black, the game was called and fans were evacuated through service tunnels. Thunderstorms, but no tornados, passed over the stadium.
But tornadoes were reported moving north and east across north Texas during the night. They caused damage but no injuries in parts of Dallas and Tarrant counties.
And officials warned that more severe weather was expected.
“Unfortunately, this event will likely continue for some time,” Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin said. “I am asking all Oklahomans to stay aware of the weather and to take proper precautions to keep themselves out of harm’s way.”
Meanwhile, rescue crews toiled throughout the day in Joplin in a desperate search for survivors amid the splintered homes, fallen trees and crushed cars. It was the deadliest tornado there in 60 years.
President Obama, who is planning to visit Joplin on Sunday, said in London yesterday, “The American people are by your side. We’re going to stay there until every home is repaired, until every neighborhood is rebuilt, until every business is back on its feet.”
Efforts focused on the remains of a Home Depot store and a Walmart, withsearch-and-rescue dogs hunting for survivors.
Rescuers in Joplin were given some reason for hope as they pulled 17 survivors from the rubble.
But the blue-collar town of 50,000 was far from out of the woods. Fire from gas leaks continued to burn, and weather forecasters said similar conditions could emerge to set off other large tornado outbreaks in the Midwest.
The National Weather Service said last Sunday’s crippling twister appeared to be a rare “multivortex” tornado, with two or more small and intense centers of rotation orbiting the larger funnel.
It ranked as an EF5 – the highest on a scale used by weather experts – with winds greater than 200 mph. At its peak, the massive funnel cloud was three-quarters of amile wide.
Until now, the single deadliest twister killed 116 in Flint, Mich., in 1953.