Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

National and World

May 20, 2013

Tornadoes slam Plains, Midwest; 1 dead in Okla.

SHAWNEE, Okla. (AP) — Hearing on the radio that a violent storm was approaching her rural Oklahoma neighborhood, Lindsay Carter took advantage of the advanced warning, gathered her belongings and fled. When she returned, there was little left of the community she called home.

Several tornadoes struck parts of the nation's midsection Sunday, concentrating damage in central Oklahoma and Wichita, Kan. One person was killed near Shawnee, Okla., and 21 injuries were reported throughout the state.

Victims and emergency responders might not get much of reprieve as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Storm Prediction Center was forecasting similar weather for Monday over much of the same area.

The worst of the damage Sunday appeared to be at the Steelman Estates Mobile Home Park located amid gently rolling hills about 35 miles southeast of Oklahoma City.

"It took a dead hit," resident James Hoke said. Emerging from a storm cellar where he sought refuge with his wife and two children, Hoke found that their mobile home had vanished. "Everything is gone."

Hoke said he started trying to help neighbors and found his wife's father covered in rubble.

"My father-in-law was buried under the house. We had to pull Sheetrock off of him," Hoke said.

Forecasters had been warning of bad weather since last Wednesday and on Sunday said conditions had ripened for powerful tornadoes. Wall-to-wall broadcasts of storm information spread the word Sunday, leaving Pottawatomie County Sheriff Mike Booth grateful.

"There was a possibility a lot more people could have been injured," Booth said. "This is the worst I've seen in Pottawatomie County in my 25 years of law enforcement."

Carter had heard on a radio broadcast that a storm that had originated southwest of Oklahoma City was headed toward Shawnee.

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