Tornadoes strike central US, killing 2 in Oklahoma

Powerful storm threatens much of the Midwest and Plain states

A powerful storm front is rumbling through parts of the Plains, Midwest and South, spawning deadly tornadoes and heavy hail and rain, and damaging or destroying structures in several states.

A tornado killed two people in Quapaw, a small community in northeastern Oklahoma, near its borders with Kansas and Missouri. An Ottawa County sheriff’s dispatcher says the twister hit the city at around 5:30 p.m. and that the extent of property damage is still unknown. But there are reports there’s quite a bit of damage to the north side of town.

Tornado warnings are in effect for parts of northwest Mississippi and western Missouri. In addition to the tornado strike in Oklahoma, twisters also had reportedly touched down today in Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas and Missouri.

A funnel cloud touched down northwest of Joplin, Mo., and a tornado reportedly caused damage in or near Baxter Springs, Kan., which is in the state’s southeast corner near its borders with Oklahoma to the south and Missouri to the east.

Forecasters say a large tornado that touched down west of Little Rock, Ark., has damaged property along a 30-mile route and remains on the ground.

Television footage shows damaged vehicles along a road north of state capital Sunday and trees that were stripped of their leaves and small branches along Interstate 40 between the suburbs of Maumelle and Mayflower.

There were no immediate reports of injuries.

Forecasters issued tornado emergencies for Maumelle, Morgan, Saltillo and Vilonia after storm spotters confirmed a twister on the ground.

The storm formed about 10 miles west of Little Rock and crossed the Arkansas River northwest of the city.