Tornado causes extensive damage to Oklahoma town and 1 death as powerful storms hit central US

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OKLAHOMA CITY, May 7, (AP): A tornado destroyed homes and toppled trees and power lines when it roared through a small Oklahoma town, one of several twisters that erupted in the central United States amid a series of powerful storms that stretched into Tuesday. At least one death was reported.
The tornado ripped through the 1,000-person town of Barnsdall, about a 40-minute drive north of Tulsa, on Monday night.
At least 30 to 40 homes in the Barnsdall area were damaged, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol reported, and the state Department of Health reported a nursing home was damaged and patients were being evacuated. A natural gas leak and numerous road closings due to debris also were reported, according to Osage County Emergency Management.
“We’ve got one confirmed fatality and multiple injuries,” Osage County Sheriff Eddie Virden told KOKI-TV.
Damage also was reported in Bartlesville, about 20 miles northeast.
“We did take a direct hit from a tornado” in the city, said Kary Fox of the Washington County Emergency Management. “Please stay off the roadways. Stay out of those damaged areas. We’re having a lot of difficulty getting in to do assessments to check on people, to see if they’ve got any injuries because of the traffic congestion.”
The National Weather Service in Tulsa had warned Monday evening that “a large and life-threatening tornado” was headed toward Barnsdall, with wind gusts up to 70 mph (112 kph). Meteorologist Brad McGavock said information on the tornado’s size and how far it traveled wasn’t immediately available Monday night.
The storms began earlier Monday with gusty winds and rain. But after dark, tornadoes were spotted skirting northern Oklahoma. At one point in the evening, a storm in the small town of Covington had “produced tornadoes off and on for over an hour,” the National Weather Service said. Throughout the area, wind farm turbines spun rapidly in the wind and blinding rain.

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