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9 killed in Oklahoma tornado; damage, injuries throughout Midwest

June 1, 2013 at 11:24 AM   |   Comments

OKLAHOMA CITY, June 1 (UPI) -- At least nine people, including two children, were killed by tornadoes that ripped through the Midwest from Oklahoma City to St. Louis, officials said.

"At this time, our office can confirm nine fatalities from last night's tornadoes," Amy Elliott, spokeswoman for the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner told AccuWeather.com in an email. "These victims include two children and seven adults."

About 24 tornado sightings were reported to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Storm Prediction Center Friday, none of which included the Oklahoma City tornado, AccuWeather.com reported.

Rescue crews in Oklahoma combed through wreckage Saturday, assessing the damage from Friday's deadly tornado sweep.

Storms caused flooding and cut off power to hundreds of thousands, but reserved some of the worst damage for places in Oklahoma visited by twisters only two weeks ago, CNN said.

KFOR-TV, Oklahoma City, reported five people who died in Union City, Yukon and an unconfirmed location had been in vehicles hit by tornadoes.

Oklahoma Highway Patrol Trooper Betsy Randolph told ABC a mother and child riding in a car along I-40 were killed.

"We know that the storm picked them up and swept them away," Randolph said. "When the troopers found them, they were both deceased."

Twisters that blitzed Oklahoma City and its suburbs during the evening rush hour crumpled cars and tractor-trailers, creating a mess on Interstate 40 and other thoroughfares, KOCO-TV, Oklahoma City, reported. Parts of Interstates 35 and 40 near Oklahoma City were "a parking lot," officials said, as people drove southbound in the northbound lanes as they attempted to escape the storm.

The city was drenched with 8 to 11 inches of rain, and flooding stranded five empty city buses and some motorists.

A massive tornado struck nearby Moore, Okla., May 20, killing two dozen people.

The Weather Channel says meteorologist Mike Bettes and his crew were tossed about 200 yards Friday night when their van was hit by a large tornado near El Reno, Okla. The team suffered minor injuries.

In Missouri, the Lambert-St. Louis International Airport was closed because of debris on the runway. In Illinois, 25 to 30 homes were damaged by high winds, officials said.

By early Saturday morning, more than 212,000 customers throughout the Midwest had been left without power.

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