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At least 16 people died in Okla. tornadoes; search on for missing

June 3, 2013 at 5:13 PM   |   Comments

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OKLAHOMA CITY, June 3 (UPI) -- A deadly storm that spawned five tornadoes late last week killed at least 16 people across Oklahoma. Officials said Monday they fear the death toll will rise.

Oklahoma City Fire Chief Keith Bryant said authorities resumed their search Monday for those people still missing. During the afternoon, they located a girl's body, The (Oklahoma City) Oklahoman said. That left five people still unaccounted for, including four who took shelter in storm drains, CNN reported. Helicopters had been called in to assist in the search.

The storms that blew through Oklahoma and other states in the nation's midsection Friday also sent floodwaters surging.

In Missouri, a tornado "caused dozens and dozens of houses to be literally blown up" in the 10 miles of damage it caused, Gov. Jay Nixon told KSDK, St. Louis.

No one died in the tornado, but three people drowned, Nixon said.

In Arkansas, flooding killed at least four people -- a sheriff's deputy, a wildlife officer and two women they were trying to rescue, CNN reported.

The Oklahoma City metropolitan area bore the brunt of the storms' fury.

The storm system downed power lines and uprooted trees, overturned big rigs and tore off part of the terminal roof at Oklahoma City's Will Rogers World Airport, where about 1,500 residents had taken shelter in a tunnel.

"It's a [sobering] thing to think about life, and to see all your memories just tossed about," Kris Merritt told CNN while examining the damage at his parents' house.

One tornado sucked in a truck with a Weather Channel crew, flinging it 200 yards to a field where it smashed into the ground.

The storm killed three other storm chasers -- Tim Samaras, his son Paul Samaras, and Carl Young were killed while chasing a tornado in El Reno.

After the tornadoes, 8 to 11 inches of rain doused Oklahoma City.

Five bodies were swept away in the flash flooding, Oklahoma City Deputy Fire Chief Marc Woodard said.

"We saw flooding in areas that we don't see flooding," Police Lt. Jay Barnett told CNN. "We were overwhelmed."

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