Midwest storms: Tornadoes claim at least 5 in Oklahoma

Ron Recinto and Mike Benzie
The Lookout

Below are continuing updates of the severe weather in parts of the Midwest. A round of severe weather which included tornadoes, heavy winds and baseball-sized hail has passed through the Midwest late Saturday and early Sunday. Strong thunderstorms are expected as far east as Michigan, but forecasters say the storm system is weakening and additional tornadoes are unlikely. All times are Central Standard.

9:50 a.m. (CST): The Associated Press is confirming there are five dead in the Woodward, Oklahoma area and at least 29 injured. Their report states at least 8,000 are without power in that region.

4:40 a.m. (CST): At least five fatalities have been reported in Oklahoma, including two children, reports CNN. Amy Elliott of the state Medical Examiner's Office said the deaths were in the town of Woodward. Woodward Mayor Roscoe Hill said the he storm that struck the town shortly after midnight, according to CNN.  "Everything is dark. Buildings have been tore up," he told the news outlet. The story said there were at least 88 reports of tornadoes in Oklahoma.

11:30 p.m. (CST): The Topeka Capital-Journal reports up to 20 reported tornadoes in Kansas, with the Wichita area taking a significant hit.

10:40 p.m. (CST): Officials are telling the Associated Press that the small town of Thurman, Iowa is nearly 75 percent destroyed. The town's Emergency Management Director said there were no storm related  injuries or deaths reported in the community of about 250.  Also, a possible tornado struck a hospital Saturday evening in Creston, Iowa, CNN reports.

9:48 p.m. (CST): According to the National Weather Service, a confirmed and "large and extremely dangerous tornado" was located near Argonia, Kan.  The alert notes that major power outages and damage is expected. Impacted areas include Wichita and surrounding areas.

9 p.m. (CST): A National Weather Service report states a very large and destructive tornado is likely moving through Fellsburg, Kan. The advisory urges residents to take life-saving precautions immediately.

7:29 p.m. (CST): Tornadoes touched down in Oklahoma, Nebraska and Kansas with no deaths reported and damage in mostly unpopulated areas, Reuters reports. However, according to a National Weather Service advisory: "Conditions will remain favorable for strong to violent and possibly long-lived tornadoes into the overnight hours."

[ RELATED: A photo gallery of storms in the Midwest Friday ]

The advisory noted that "Tornadoes during the overnight hours can be particularly dangerous because they are usually fast-moving and obscured by rain and darkness."

The National Weather Service said severe storms were also possible tonight from Texas to Iowa to South Dakota and Minnesota.

A tornado forms and touches down north of Soloman, Kan., Saturday, April 14, 2012. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

5:05 p.m. (CST): Tornado Watch issued until 12 a.m. for central Iowa and northern Missouri includes Des Moines.

4:29 p.m. (CST): McConnell Air Force Base near Wichita is relocating some of its aircraft as the severe storm approaches the area, a spokeswoman tells the Wichita Eagle newspaper.

3:53 p.m. (CST): An official in Burdett, Kan. tells KSN-TV a tornado came close, but did not hit the town.

3:32 p.m. (CST): Tornado warnings and initial reports are picking up rapidly. The National Weather Service has 8 preliminary reports and warnings now stretch to Oklahoma.

3:19 p.m. (CST): The severe to strong weather is expected to affect parts of the central and southern Plains this afternoon and tonight, says the National Weather Service. The NWS Storm Prediction Center is forecasting the development of strong to violent long-track tornadoes in parts of Kansas, Oklahoma and Nebraska.

2:16 p.m. (CST): The National Weather Service in Dodge City, Kan. has confirmed a tornado 8 miles northwest of Spearville, Kan.

2:15 p.m. (CST): Baseball-sized hail crashed through windows in northeast Nebraska and at least three possible tornadoes have been reported in parts of Oklahoma, according to an AP report.

1:50 p.m. (CST): The University of Nebraska cancelled their Spring scrimmage as hail and sharp lightning moved through the area 90 minutes before the scheduled kickoff. The Associated Press reports officials decided to cancel rather than delay the scrimmage because of the threat of more strong storms and possible tornadoes later in the day.

1:04 p.m. (CST): The National Weather Service in Hastings has issued tornado warnings in North Central Kansas. Warnings are for Northwestern Osborne County and Southern Smith County.

1 p.m. (CST): The major storms are expected to hit between noon and mid-evening, according to the National Weather Service.

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