Violent storms hit middle America after tornadoes

A line of violent thunderstorms roared across middle America, killing six people in two states, with several tornadoes touching down in Oklahoma and high winds pounding rural Kansas.

The storms arrived as forecast, just two days after a massive tornado tore through the south-west Missouri town of Joplin and killed at least 122 people.

Several tornadoes struck Oklahoma City and its suburbs during yesterday's rush hour, killing at least four people and injuring at least 60 others, including three children who were in a critical condition.

Cherokee Ballard, a spokeswoman for the state medical examiner, said four people died west of Oklahoma City in Canadian County, where a weather-monitoring site in El Reno recorded 151mph winds.

In Kansas, police said two people died when high winds threw a tree into their van near the small town of St John, about 100 miles west of Wichita. The highway was shut down because of storm damage.

More severe weather was expected today as the storms continued east.

"Unfortunately, this event will likely continue for some time," Oklahoma governor 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."

The line of storms began at about 3pm in Oklahoma and followed tracks greater than 40 miles into the state's capital city before continuing on towards Tulsa. Oklahoma state offices and many businesses let workers leave early to get out of harm's way.

Storm clouds also spawned funnel clouds and at least one tornado around North Texas, but there were no immediate reports of damage or injuries.

In Missouri, rescuers moved from one enormous debris pile to another, racing to respond to any report of a possible survivor.

As Joplin's death toll rose to at least 122, with nine survivors pulled from the rubble, searchers raced against the clock because anybody still alive after the deadliest single tornado in 60 years was losing precious strength two days after the disaster.

For Milissa Burns, hope was fading that her 16-month-old grandson, whose parents were both taken to hospital after the twister hit their house, would be found.

She arrived at a demolished dentist's office near the family's home to watch a search team. At one point a dog identified possible human remains, prompting eight searchers to dig frantically, but they came away with nothing. Ms Burns was weary but composed, but her daughter - the boy's aunt - sobbed next to her.

"We've already checked out the morgue," Ms Burns said. "I've called 911 a million times. I've done everything I can do. He was so light and little. He could be anywhere."

The National Weather Service announced that the twister that crippled Joplin on Sunday was an EF-5, the strongest rating assigned to tornadoes, with winds of more than 200mph. Scientists said it appeared to be a rare "multi-vortex" tornado, with two or more small and intense centres of rotation orbiting the larger funnel.

It was the deadliest single twister since the weather service began keeping official records in 1950 and the eighth-deadliest in US history.

Authorities said an estimated 750 people were hurt and an unknown number were still unaccounted for.

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
News
Tim Vine has won the funniest joke award at the Edinburgh Festival 2014
peopleTim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
News
people
Life and Style
techApp to start sending headlines, TV clips and ads to your phone
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift crawls through the legs of twerking dancers in her 'Shake It Off' music video
musicEarl Sweatshirt thinks so
Life and Style
tech
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Principal Arboricultural Consultant

£35000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: Principal Arboricu...

Trainee Digital Forensic Analyst

£17000 - £18000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Trainee Digital Fo...

Planning Manager (Training, Learning and Development) - London

£35000 - £38000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glob...

Asset Finance Solicitor

Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: CITY - ASSET FINANCE - An outstanding...

Day In a Page

Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

But could his predictions of war do the same?
Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs: 'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs
Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities, but why?

Young at hort

Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities. But why are so many people are swapping sweaty clubs for leafy shrubs?
Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award: 'making a quip as funny as possible is an art'

Beyond a joke

Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

Sadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire: The joy of camping in a wetland nature reserve and sleeping under the stars

A wild night out

Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire offers a rare chance to camp in a wetland nature reserve
Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition: It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans

Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition

It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans
Besiktas vs Arsenal: Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie

Besiktas vs Arsenal

Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie
Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

As the Northern Irishman prepares for the Barclays, he finds time to appear on TV in the States, where he’s now such a global superstar that he needs no introduction
Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to Formula One

Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to F1

The 16-year-old will become the sport’s youngest-ever driver when he makes his debut for Toro Rosso next season
Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

But belated attempts to unite will be to no avail if the Sunni caliphate remains strong in Syria, says Patrick Cockburn
Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I would end up killing myself in jail'

Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I'd end up killing myself in jail'

Following last week's report on prison suicides, the former inmate asks how much progress we have made in the 50 years since the abolition of capital punishment