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Oklahoma City sees first ever flash flood emergency, airport shut down

By
Danielle Haynes and Doug G. Ware
A tornado touches down northeast of Chickasha, Okla., as part of a storm that produced a number of twisters on Wednesday. Photo by @SeanRamseySPP/Twitter
A tornado touches down northeast of Chickasha, Okla., as part of a storm that produced a number of twisters on Wednesday. Photo by @SeanRamseySPP/Twitter

MOORE, Okla., May 7 (UPI) -- More than 20 tornadoes touched down Wednesday across the plains, causing numerous injuries and widespread destruction, officials said.

Severe storms passed through Kansas, Nebraska and Oklahoma throughout the afternoon -- giving way to larger, more dangerous twisters later in the evening.

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It appears, officials say, that a city in Oklahoma got the worst of it -- as a twister rolled through a mobile home park and injured a dozen people, two critically.

During the storm, Oklahoma City was also hit hard -- receiving eight inches of rain, which triggered the first flash flood emergency in the city's history. The Oklahoma City airport was also shut down for the remainder of Wednesday night, CNN reported.

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At least one tornado touched down as part of a storm cell that passed through Newcastle, Norman and Moore near the University of Oklahoma.

Accuweather described the twister as "large and extremely dangerous" as it closed in on Newcastle, Okla. The blistering rain was accompanied in some areas by golf ball-size hail and flooding, forecasters said.

"There's debris just everywhere, and there's a lot of water on the roadways," Oklahoma Highway Patrol Capt. Paul Timmons told CNN.

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At least one structure was damaged in Bridge Creek, Okla., west of Newcastle, and homes were "leveled" in Blanchard, Okla., KWTV-TV in Oklahoma City reported. Dozens of homes were destroyed in Amber, The Weather Channel reported.

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin said she is planning to declare the state a disaster area and seek federal assistance.

As the storm moved east, the funnel was cloaked by rain, making it dangerous and difficult to see whether and where it touched the ground.

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