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Dangerous storm sweeps Southern Plains, spawning tornadoes

Updated May 20, 2019 - 10:59 pm

OKLAHOMA CITY — An intense storm system that weather forecasters labeled “particularly dangerous” swept through the Southern Plains Monday, spawning a few tornadoes that caused some damage and a deluge of rain but no reports of injuries.

The National Weather Service had warned that Monday evening could bring perilous weather to a large swath of western Texas, most of Oklahoma and southern Kansas. The storm was expected to move later Monday into western Arkansas.

As predicted, some tornadoes were reported early Monday evening, although they were in sparsely populated areas. Oklahoma residents were on alert as Monday is the sixth anniversary of a massive tornado in Moore, south of Oklahoma City, that killed 24 people.

A tornado struck western and northern portions of the southwestern Oklahoma town of Mangum on Monday afternoon. Glynadee Edwards, the Greer County emergency management director, says some homes incurred roof damage and the high school’s agriculture barn was destroyed, but the livestock survived.

“The pigs are walking around wondering what happened to their house,” she said.

Emergency officials reported a tornado near Lucien, in northern Oklahoma, severely damaging a house and destroying a barn. One storm cell near Crescent, 32 miles north of Oklahoma City, spawned twin tornadoes.

Earlier Monday, school districts in Oklahoma City, nearby Norman and elsewhere in Oklahoma canceled classes with forecasts of hail and wind gusts of up to 80 mph. A flood watch was in effect for the greater Oklahoma City region. Schools in Abilene and elsewhere in West Texas sent students home early.

Tinker Air Force Base near Oklahoma City moved several planes to other military installations in anticipation of storm damage. Meanwhile, state workers in several Oklahoma counties were sent home early.

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt said in a statement that the state emergency operations center was activated and urged motorists not to drive around barricades or into flooded roadways.

In Oklahoma City, emergency management officials opened the Multi-Agency Coordination Center, an underground bunker on the city’s northeast side that serves as a clearinghouse for coordinating information about severe weather events and other major emergencies.

Some flights at Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma City were canceled to avoid damage to aircraft and the possibility of extended delays elsewhere.

It’s the latest round of severe weather to strike the region after a spate of tornadoes raked the Southern Plains on Friday and Saturday, leaving widespread damage and some people injured.

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