122 Tornados Swept Across 4 States, Killing 5 and Virtually Wiping an Iowa Town off the Map

A strong storm system has thrashed its way across the country this weekend, leaving a trail of destruction in its path.  The storm’s bull’s- eye for Sunday will likely be Wisonsin, Minnesota, and Iowa, said CNN Meteorologist Alexandrea Steel said, “Some of the bigger cities that could see isolated tornados, large hail and damaging winds are: Green Bay, Chicago, St. Louis and Houston.” 

About 5 million people from Wisconsin to Texas “need to be on guard,” Steele said.

The National Weather Service has advised everyone in the storm’s path to “be on guard.”

Late Saturday and early Sunday, the same front moved through Woodward, Oklahoma, killing 5.  Two of the dead were found in one location and three were found in another location,  police chief Harry Rutherford said

The state’s Medical Examiner told CNN two of the deceased were children.

It is believed that because the storm came in the night, the residents were unprepared and were not able to take proper precautions and the town’s tornado siren failed to sound.

Woodward Mayor Roscoe Hill told CNN that 37 people were injured, including several critically, in the storm that struck the town shortly after midnight. Matt Lehenbauer, director of emergency management for Woodward, said 29 people were treated for injuries.

A tornado warning siren that had sounded a day earlier failed to go off when the suspected tornado struck, Hill said.

In southwest Iowa town of Thruman, officials evacuated the entire population of roughly 300 people,  after a suspected tornado struck Saturday, damaging or destroying three out of every four homes.

“I can hear the rumbling in the distance. You can see the lightning. Whatever is in Kansas is coming this way,” said Mike Crecelius, Fremont County’s emergency management director. “About 75% of the homes are damaged or destroyed. From the looks of things, there won’t be a tree left in that town either.”

Kansas Governor Sam Brownback said his state saw 98 tornados.  In Wichita,

The tornados that tore through Kansas went through mostly rural parts of the state in the western and central areas.  A reported tornado in Wichita, that struck late Saturday night, caused damage at McConnell Air Force Base and the Spirit AeroSystems and Boeing plants.

According to Huffington Post, Wichita resident Yvonne Tucker says she rushed to a shelter with about 60 of her neighbors at Pinaire Mobile Home Park. She said people were crying and screaming, and the shelter’s lights went out when the twister hit. When they came back outside, they found several homes destroyed, including Tucker’s.

“I didn’t think it was that bad until I walked down my street and everything is gone,” said Tucker, 49. “I don’t know what to do. I don’t know where to go. I’ve seen it on TV, but when it happens to you it is unreal.

“I just feel lost.”

Drivers, if you’re in the storm’s path, please be careful.  Take the necessary precaution and find out the storm shelter locations on your route.  We will bring you updates as they become available.