Storm clouds approach South Haven, Kansas, May 19, 2013. (Gene Blevins/Reuters)
Less than a week after a string of tornadoes killed six people in north Texas, a massive storm system that tore through the center of the country on Sunday spawned at least a dozen tornadoes, killed two people, injured dozens more and caused extensive damage from Georgia to Minnesota.
According to the Oklahoma state medical examiner, the two victims in Sunday's storms—Glen Irish, 79, and Billy Hutchinson, 76—were from hard-hit Shawnee. At least 39 other people were injured on Sunday, Oklahoma emergency management director Albert Ashwood said.
James Hoke, a resident of Steelman Estates Mobile Home Park in Shawnee, told the Associated Press his neighborhood "took a dead hit."
"My father-in-law was buried under the house," he said. "We had to pull Sheetrock off of him."
[Slideshow: Tornadoes rip through Plains]
A tornado at least a half-mile wide was spotted near Pink, Okla., outside Oklahoma City, prompting the National Weather Service in Norman to issue an unusually dire warning:
You could be killed if not underground or in a tornado shelter. Complete destruction of neighborhoods, businesses and vehicles will occur. Flying debris will be deadly to people and animals.
"Large tornado west of Pink!" a tweet from the Norman office read. "Take cover RIGHT NOW in Pink! DO NOT WAIT!"
"Overpasses are NOT tornado shelters!" read another. "Do not park under them! You are keeping others from getting to safety!"
Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin declared states of emergency in 16 counties. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said hailstones as large as baseballs were seen throughout the region.
According to the National Weather Service, more severe weather is expected in Oklahoma on Monday, "with very large hail, damaging winds and perhaps tornadoes impacting the region."
We are very concerned that we could be dealing with dangerous storms—possibly including tornadoes—around school dismissal time today, and certainly during afternoon rush hour. Please stay very alert today and think about how you might need to change your plans this afternoon. Please share this with your family and friends.
Videos of several tornadoes that touched down in Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri were posted to YouTube:
As well as plenty of hail footage:
- Natural Phenomena
- Nature & Environment
- Billy Hutchinson