UPDATE: 6th Person Dies Following Twisters In Midwest
PHOTO: Larry W. Smith / EPA
UPDATE: New this morning, according to KRMG, a Tulsa radio station, a 6th person has died from injuries he sustained in this weekends string of storms that swept through the Midwestern United States.
According to the radio station, 63-year-old Steven Peil, a military veteran died in an Amarillo, Texas hospital this morning. Peil and his wife were airlifted to Texas following the tornados. His wife suffered a broken shoulder.
MSNBC - A wide swath of the central U.S. is in a severe storm danger zone on Sunday, following twisters that killed at least five people and caused damage across the Midwest on Saturday.
The areas "most likely" to see tornadoes by Sunday afternoon, the National Weather Service said, are northeast Iowa, southeast Minnesota and parts of Wisconsin.
"Severe storms are also possible in a band from Illinois and Missouri southward into Arkansas, northwest Louisiana and east Texas," the service added.
Saturday saw 122 reports of tornadoes in the central plains, the Storm Prediction Center noted. Not all have been confirmed, and some might be the same twister reported in a nearby area, but the number of reports is unusually high.
Below's a look at the deaths, injuries and damage by state.
Oklahoma: In Woodward, five people were killed by a twister that also leveled buildings.
Lightning had apparently disabled the town's tornado sirens, Reuters cited Mayor Roscoe Hill as saying.
Two children died at a mobile home park, while two adults were killed just outside the city limits, Hill said.
"This thing took us by surprise," Hill said, adding storm sirens had not sounded. "It's kind of overwhelming."
In April 1947, Woodward was hit by a tornado that still ranks as the deadliest in Oklahoma history, with 116 people killed, according to the National Weather Service.
Kansas: A twister churned through parts of Wichita, where Brandon Redmond, a meteorologist with the Severe Weather Alert Team, said it passed over his vehicle and lifted it two feet off the ground.
"The tornado literally formed over our vehicle," he told Reuters. "I've never been that scared in my life. ... We had power flashes all around us and debris circulating all around the vehicle, sheet metal, parts of a roof, plywood."
The city's industrial south side saw significant damage, he added, as did a mobile home park. There were no immediate reports of injuries.
Tornadoes also raced through north-central Kansas. Five homes in rural Saline County were damaged, but the tornado avoided towns and no one was hurt.
Iowa: A hospital in Creston was damaged and two people were injured by a suspected twister. Patients were moved to nearby hospitals and most of the town of 7,500 people lost power.
In Thurman, a town of 250, homes were missing walls and roofs, while sidewalks and streets were covered with toppled trees.
"I would estimate a fourth of the houses have been made unlivable," said Randy Chapman, a deputy at the Fremont County Sheriff's Office.
Nebraska: An apparent tornado near Oxford took a roof off a farm house and toppled a grain bin but no injuries or other serious damage in the area were reported.
Tornadoes briefly touched down earlier in Nebraska's Nuckolls County and Thayer County.
The U.S. tornado season started early this year, with twisters already blamed for 62 deaths in 2012 in the Midwest and South, raising concerns that this year would be a repeat of 2011, the deadliest tornado year in nearly a century.
Some 550 people died in tornadoes last year, including 316 killed in an April outbreak in five Southern states, and 161 people in Joplin, Missouri, the following month.
The Storm Prediction Center, part of the National Weather Service, had warned of Saturday's developing system.
Director Russ Schneider said it was just the second time in U.S. history that the center issued a high-risk warning more than 24 hours in advance. The first was in April 2006, when nearly 100 tornadoes tore across the Southeast, killing a dozen people and damaging more than 1,000 homes in Tennessee.
Earlier warnings are now possible because storm modeling and technology have improved, said Chris Vaccaro, a spokesman for the National Weather Service. In the past, people often have had only minutes of warning when a siren went off.
The National Weather Service also announced last month that it would start using terms like "mass devastation," "unsurvivable" and "catastrophic" in tornado warnings in an effort to get more people to take heed
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