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Tornadoes hit U.S. midsection, damaging homes, power lines

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  • Storms moved through rural Lyon County

OKLAHOMA CITY » Strong storms, including some tornadoes, were churning across the nation’s midsection Saturday. Authorities in Oklahoma said there were reports of damage to homes and businesses and significant damage to power lines.

Rain and winds were also moving across parts of Texas, Kansas, Nebraska and Minnesota, where there were some reports of tornadoes.

Tornadoes touched down Saturday in southwestern Oklahoma near the towns of Elmer and near Tipton, said National Weather Service forecaster Daryl Williams. He said another touched down briefly near Elk City along Interstate 40, and there were several other possible tornadoes. Warnings were issued in several other areas.

Department of Emergency Management spokeswoman Keli Cain said damage was reported in western Oklahoma.

"This is just still very, very preliminary, but we’re hearing a lot of damage to power lines, outbuildings. We’ve also heard reports of damage to homes and businesses, primarily in Major County and Roger Mills County," Cain said.

"Right now we haven’t had any reports of injuries or fatalities, and we hope it will stay that way," Cain said.

Cain said the Oklahoma Corporation Commission reported just more than 3,000 power outages statewide.

Williams said the tornadoes in southwestern Oklahoma were very strong, but were in largely isolated areas.

Emergency Management Director Lloyd Colston in Altus said there were damaged structures in the area.

U.S. Highway 283 at Elmer was closed because of a downed power line and the town was without power, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol reported. Public Service Company of Oklahoma reported a total of about 1,800 power outages in the region.

Jared Guyer, a forecaster with the weather service’s Storm Prediction Center, said the threat of tornadoes was expected to diminish late Saturday, but the storms with rain and hail could continue into Sunday.

Last weekend’s weather caused several tornadoes, flooding and at least four deaths.

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