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Oklahoma Raked by Tornadoes,
Spring-like Storms after Summer of Drought

by 7amNews Correspondent Patricia Phillips
:15 aM CDT 5 October 1998


After a summer of unrelenting drought and heatwaves that caused millions of dollars worth of farm and ranching losses, Oklahoma in October reverted to springtime weather of the most dangerous kind.: tornadoes, thunderstorms, and wide-scale flooding.Violent storms raked the state from late Sunday afternoon throughout the night, spawning tornadoes that clawed paths around southwest, north central, and central Oklahoma .

Rescue workers are still searching the small town of Prague, where multiple injuries have been reported following a tornado that hit about 10:30 p.m. Sunday night. Several people trapped in a storm cellar have been rescued, but officials fear that not everyone injured has yet been found in the wreckage. Power outages, road blockages, and continuing severe thunderstorms hampered searches throughout the night.,

The wide-ranging storm system, which rampaged through Oklahoma, Kansas, and Missouri, is known to have claimed one life: that of a nine-year-old boy near Kansas City, Missouri. He apparently was drowned in a flash flood caused by a storm that dumped about six inches of rain near Kansas City, Missouri.

In Moore, OK, near Oklahoma City, itís estimated that at least two tornadoes damaged, and in some cases, destroyed more than 50 homes in a quarter-mile-wide swath. Damage was also reported at nearby Tinker Air Force Base.

Serving notice that the year of harsh weather isnít over, the tornadoes were part of a hyperactive storm system that caused heavy flooding throughout major portions of the state from the central to northeast areas. Some schools around the Tulsa area closed due to flash flood, and several major roads and streets were shut down. Residents of Miami, OK, a small town in the northeast corner of the state where flash flooding has previously taken lives, were warned that getting into or out of the town on any roads could be dangerous.

The heavy rains, which have dropped four to six inches in some areas, are part of a large storm system that began moving through Oklahoma late Sunday afternoon. Tornadoes were sighted in and around small towns like Watonga, Kingfisher, Dover, Medicine Park, Perry, Prague, Aline, Carmen Stillwater.Damage to rural areas included farm buildings and, in some cases, the loss of livestock, including one youngsterís 4-H show pigs.

The outbreak of spring-like storms is expected to continue at least through Wednesday, forecasters say. Also at risk are Texas, Missouri and Kansas.

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