Oklahoma City area hit by more deadly tornadoes | News | DW | 01.06.2013
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Oklahoma City area hit by more deadly tornadoes

Oklahoma has been hit by a series of tornadoes, killing a mother and her baby, authorities said. The severe weather follows a deadly twister that hit the US state on May 20, killing 24 people.

A car passes two semi tractor-trailers, flipped by a tornado, along Interstate-40 eastbound as a vehicle passes slowly just east of El Reno, Oklahoma May 31, 2013. Violent thunderstorms spawned tornadoes that menaced Oklahoma City and its already hard-hit suburb of Moore on Friday, killing a mother and her baby, and officials worried that drivers stuck on freeways could be trapped in the path of dangerous twisters. One twister touched down on Interstate 40 and was headed toward Oklahoma City. REUTERS/Bill Waugh (UNITED STATES - Tags: DISASTER ENVIRONMENT TRANSPORT)

Tornado in US-Bundesland Oklahoma

Tornadoes ripped through Oklahoma City and the surrounding area Friday, killing at least nine people, according to the state medical examiner's office.

Troopers found the bodies of a woman and her baby near a vehicle along Interstate 40, Oklahoma Highway Patrol spokeswoman Betsy Randolph said.

The interstate was shut down and emergency officials said reports of injuries were "widespread."

"The interstate is at a standstill," said Randolph. "We are begging people to get off the interstate and seek immediate shelter … we are in a dire situation."

Tornado emergency issued

At one point, the National Weather Service declared a tornado emergency for parts of the Oklahoma City metropolitan area.

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Oklahoma hit again by tornadoes

Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin told broadcaster CNN that motorists stuck on any freeway in the path of a tornado should move in the opposite direction of the twister.

"What we saw from tornadoes that came through Moore and the other ones last week was that people who were in cars on the Interstate were killed," Fallin told CNN.

Some 1,200 passengers at Will Rogers World Airport near Oklahoma City were directed into underground tunnels and inbound and outbound flights were canceled.

'Damage very widespread'

The Oklahoma Gas and Electric Company reported that 53,000 customers in Oklahoma City had lost power.

"We're scrambling around," said Lara O'Leary, a spokeswoman for the local ambulance agency, told the AP news agency. "There is a very low visibility with the heavy rain … so we're having trouble getting around."

"The damage is very, very widespread," she added.

Oklahoma Cityis part of a region known as "Tornado Alley." Last week, a tornado tore through the Oklahoma City suburb of Moore, causing massive damage and killing 24 people.

dr/jm (Reuters, AP, AFP)

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