Destructive tornadoes injure a dozen, cut power for thousands

CHICAGO (Reuters) – A string of tornadoes roared through Oklahoma and Kansas overnight, leaving a path of damaged structures and flipped-over vehicles, and causing a dozen or more injures and knocking out power to tens of thousands of homes and businesses.

Police in Norman, Oklahoma, reported that 12 people were taken to hospitals after suffering injuries in the storms that rolled through and near the city of 128,000 residents at around 11 p.m. local time Sunday. None of the injuries were life-threatening, police said.

“A lot of real strong wind,” George Reich, a homeowner in Shawnee, a town east of Oklahoma City, told an ABC affiliate. “Wood and debris started flying. I jumped in the backseat of a car in the garage real quick.”

Police also reported many roads were blocked off by downed power lines and debris. Some 12,000 homes and businesses were without power across Oklahoma, reported.

Video footage and photographs of the destruction on local news and social media showed power lines resting in the middle of roadways, debris strewn across neighborhoods and roofs ripped off buildings. One photo showed a red sedan flipped over and resting on top of another vehicle.

A total of nine tornadoes were reported in Kansas and Oklahoma, the National Weather Service said.

The rough weather comes after days of a winter storm clobbered the U.S. Plains, Midwest and Great Lakes regions. More than 130,000 homes and businesses in Michigan remained without power on Monday, reported.

Monday’s national forecast features winds of up to 110 miles (177 km) per hour across the U.S. Plains along with powerful winter storms in California, the Upper Midwest and New England.

Parts of California spent the weekend dealing with heavy snows in higher elevations, rain and hail in the flatlands and frigid temperatures in parts of the state that are known of its mild weather.

(Reporting by Brendan O’Brien in Chicago, Editing by Angus MacSwan)