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Wednesday, 10 October, 2001, 17:09 GMT 18:09 UK
Tornadoes hit US Mid-West
US tornado
Tornadoes are more common in the spring
Emergency crews in the US mid-western states of Oklahoma and Nebraska are searching through the remains of more than 100 homes severely damaged by a series of tornadoes on Tuesday.


To see some of the devastation and some of the houses that just disappeared, it surprised me that we haven't had serious injuries

Robert Parsons, sheriff's deputy in Oklahoma
Despite the destruction to buildings, the authorities said only seven people had been injured, most by flying glass and debris.

Most of the damage was in western Oklahoma, but several tornadoes also caused destruction in central Nebraska late on Tuesday.

Some 12 tornadoes were reported in Oklahoma and 11 in Nebraska, said Weather Services Corporation meteorologist Dave Taylor.

They were caused by warm, moist air from the Gulf of Mexico mixed with a cold front and upper-level winds moving across the northern United States, he said.

Devastation

The town of Cordell, some 160 km west of Oklahoma City, bore the brunt of the damage.


A local official, Bob Lambert, said probably a quarter of all houses had been severely damaged or destroyed in this town of 3,000 people.

Windows were shattered, roofs were torn off homes, and trees and electrical wires littered the streets.

"To see some of the devastation and some of the houses that just disappeared, it surprised me that we haven't had serious injuries, much less fatalities," said Robert Parsons, a sheriff's deputy in Oklahoma's Washita County.

Mile-wide tornado

One Cordell man, Elmo Maddox, 72, climbed into the cellar of his daughter's farmhouse just seconds before the tornado hit.

"When we shut that cellar door, it was right on us," Mr Maddox told the Associated Press. "This was the worst I'd ever seen."

He described seeing two tornadoes merge into one system that seemed to be a mile wide.

Nebraska Emergency Management Service spokesman Tim Hergenrader said damage in the state was confined mostly to the three central counties of Polk, Merrick and Hamilton.

"You can't go anywhere at an angle here and find a farm that isn't damaged," Kent Adelson, who lives in Polk County, said.

See also:

09 Oct 01 | Americas
Hurricane Iris kills 18
06 Aug 01 | Americas
Florida flood alert as storm strikes
05 Aug 01 | Americas
US braces for tropical storm
19 Feb 00 | Washington 2000
Decades of major hurricanes ahead
18 Sep 00 | Sci/Tech
Nature's lethal weapons
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