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Tornadoes cause havoc in Oklahoma


A tornado touches down south west of Wichita, Kansas (AP)

A tornado touches down south west of Wichita, Kansas (AP)


A tornado touches down south west of Wichita, Kansas (AP)

Tornadoes have caused havoc in the US state of Oklahoma, leaving at least one man dead, turning homes in a trailer park into splinters and rubble and sending frightened residents scurrying for shelter.

At least four tornadoes swept through Oklahoma, while Kansas and Iowa were also hit hard by a massive storm system that stretched from Texas to Minnesota.

At least four separate tornadoes touched down in Oklahoma, including the one near the town of Shawnee that laid waste to much of a mobile home park.

Reports of injuries in that tornado strike could not immediately be confirmed, as getting into the area was made difficult by the overturned tractor-trailers that forced the closure of a section of a highway.

A storm spotter told the National Weather Service that the tornado left the earth "scoured" at the mobile home park.

Forecasters had been warning for days that the weekend storm system could produce tornadoes, and the emergency services throughout the region were keeping a close eye on it last night as it moved north-east. Tornado watches or warnings were in effect in several states.

Dozens of homes were damaged by the other tornadoes that touched down in Oklahoma, but emergency officials had no immediate reports of injuries caused by any of them.

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In Wichita, Kansas, a tornado knocked out power to thousands of homes and businesses but bypassed the most populated areas of the state's biggest city.

The authorities later said the tornado that severely damaged the mobile home park in Oklahoma killed a 79-year-old man whose body was found in an open area of the neighbourhood.

Pottawatomie County Sheriff Mike Booth also said that six people who lived in the mobile home park outside Oklahoma City were injured. Between 30 and 35 homes had significant damage, and number of frame homes in the neighbourhood also sustained damage. Twisters were also reported in Iowa and Kansas, and forecasters warned of further severe weather later.

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