The Latest: Tornadoes menace Oklahoma
OKLAHOMA CITY – The Latest on a round of severe weather forecast for Southern Plains (all times local):
Severe thunderstorms moved across Oklahoma, spawning a few tornadoes, causing damage and worry among the public but no reports of injuries.
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. In her words, “The pigs are walking around wondering what happened to their house.”
Emergency officials reported a tornado near Lucien, in northern Oklahoma, severely damaging a house and destroying a barn.
The National Weather Service has forecast a particularly dangerous situation in parts of Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas until late Monday evening. A storm system could bring dangerous tornadoes and large amounts of rain that could lead to flash flooding.
Emergency management officials in Oklahoma City have opened a central response center in anticipation of severe weather in the area.
The Multi-Agency Coordination Center, an underground bunker on the city’s northeast side, opened Monday after the National Weather Service issued tornado and flood watches across much of central Oklahoma.
The center serves as a clearinghouse for coordinating information about severe weather events and other major emergencies. Forecasters say 3 to 6 inches of rain could fall in Oklahoma City through Monday night and produce significant flooding.
Officials at Will Rogers World Airport say travelers should be prepared for flight delays and cancellations due to the likelihood of severe weather. Airlines have already canceled flights to avoid damage to aircraft and avoid the possibility of extended delays elsewhere.
A U.S. Air Force base in Oklahoma has moved aircraft to other military installations and is recommending staff don’t come to work in anticipation of storms expected to batter the state.
A spokesman says planes at Tinker Air Force Base were moved to other bases over the weekend. He declined to discuss specifics of the aircraft’s movements.
The base outside Oklahoma City remains open, but nonessential staff were given leave to stay home Monday as the region braces for storms forecasters say could bring hail, flooding and wind gusts of up to 80 mph (128 kph).
Another round of severe weather is forecast for the Southern Plains, including the possibility of tornadoes.
School districts in Oklahoma City, nearby Norman and elsewhere have canceled classes Monday as forecasts also call for hail and wind gusts of up to 80 mph (128 kph). A flood watch is in effect for the greater Oklahoma City region. Strong winds and hail also are forecast for the West Texas.
The National Weather Service says the storm system will move later Monday into western Arkansas. The threat of severe weather will continue into Tuesday.
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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