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RPT-UPDATE 5-Mother and baby killed as tornadoes menace Oklahoma City
June 1, 2013 / 2:37 AM / 5 years ago

RPT-UPDATE 5-Mother and baby killed as tornadoes menace Oklahoma City

By Heide Brandes
    OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla, May 31 (Reuters) - Violent
thunderstorms spawned tornadoes that menaced Oklahoma City and
its already hard-hit suburb of Moore on Friday, killing a mother
and her baby, and officials worried that drivers stuck on
freeways could be trapped in the path of dangerous twisters.
    The mother and her baby were killed while traveling on
Interstate 40, just west of Oklahoma City, when their vehicle
was picked up by the storm, said Betsy Randolph, spokeswoman for
the Oklahoma Highway Patrol. The interstate was shut down due to
the storm, with multiple crashes and injuries. 
    National Weather Service meteorologists at one point
declared a tornado emergency for parts of the Oklahoma City
metropolitan area, including Moore, and storm spotters were
tracking a tornado in the western suburb of Yukon.
    One twister touched down on Interstate 40 and was headed
toward Oklahoma City. A tornado also touched down in Moore,
which was hit by a massive EF-5 twister last week that killed 24
    "The Interstate is at a standstill," Randolph said. "We are
begging people to get off the Interstate and seek immediate
shelter ... We are in a dire situation." 
    Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin told CNN that motorists stuck
on any freeway in the path of a twister should try to go in the
opposite direction to where the twister was coming from.
    "What we saw from the tornadoes that came through Moore and
the other ones last week was that people who were in cars on the
Interstate were killed," Fallin told CNN.
    Moore Mayor Glenn Lewis told CNN it was "unbelievable" that
Moore had been hit again. 
    Tim Oram, meteorologist for the National Weather Service,
said it was difficult to know exactly how many tornadoes had
touched down, but three major storms were potentially producing
tornadoes throughout the center of the state.
    At a little after 8 p.m. CDT, two of the storms were passing
through Oklahoma City's southeastern suburbs, including Moore,
he said. Those two storms were headed toward Norman, with the
other storm southwest of the Oklahoma City. 
    Will Rogers Airport in Oklahoma City was shut down as it
sheltered 1,200 people, local station KWTV reported.
    Oklahoma Gas and Electric Company reported that 53,000
customers in the Oklahoma City area were without power. 
    Storms in Oklahoma and Arkansas on Thursday left an Arkansas
county sheriff dead and at least one man missing in an attempted
water rescue, while at least seven other people were injured
elsewhere, officials said.
    The body of Scott County Sheriff Cody Carpenter was
recovered early on Friday, said Keith Stephens, a spokesman for
the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. Authorities continued to
search for a missing state game warden after Thursday night's
rescue attempt along the Fourche La Fave River.
    A man died in Tull, Arkansas, when a tree fell on his car
during a possible tornado, said Grant County sheriff's chief
deputy, Pete Roberts. A Scott County official said a woman's
body was found in floodwaters on Friday.
    Large, long-lasting thunderstorms known as supercells are
responsible for producing the strongest tornadoes, along with
large hail and other dangerous winds.
    Tulsa, as well as Springfield, Missouri, may all be buffeted
by Friday's severe weather and possible tornado touchdowns, said
Rich Thompson, a lead forecaster at the National Weather
Service's Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma.
    The danger zone included Joplin, Missouri, he added. Joplin
was hit by a monster tornado, one of the most catastrophic in
U.S. history, that killed 161 people and destroyed about 7,500
homes two years ago.

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