Tornadoes Decimates Kansas, Oklahoma, Arkansas; 13 Dead

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    (Photo: Reuters / Bill Waugh)
    Martha Gaines looks at what is left of her home after a tornado ripped through the Falcon Lake area of Piedmont, Oklahoma May 24, 2011. Several tornadoes touched down in Oklahoma on Tuesday afternoon, the largest one striking El Reno, west of Oklahoma City, and continuing to the northeast, the National Weather Service said.
By Audrey Barrick, Christian Post Reporter
May 25, 2011|7:42 am

Powerful storms moved through three states in the central U.S. Tuesday night and early Wednesday, leaving at least 13 dead.

Lives were claimed in Kansas, Oklahoma and Arkansas.

Officials in Oklahoma, where at least five people were killed, said Piedmont was the hardest hit area because of its dense population. Dozens of homes and several businesses were damaged and nearly 58,000 residences lost power, according to CNN.

"It's been quite a day," Pastor Gary Rogers of the Grand Assembly of God church in Chickasha, Okla., told the cable news network. "We've lost about half of our roof."

There were at least four major tornadoes that swept through Oklahoma, with much of the destruction occurring during rush hour.

Joplin, Mo., was also hit Tuesday, just days after the eighth deadliest tornado in U.S. history left the city in rubble. The latest storm didn't cause any serious problems.

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The most recent death toll in Joplin is 122. The tornado that roared across southwestern Missouri on Sunday left the city unrecognizable, residents have said. It was an EF-5 storm – the strongest rating assigned to tornadoes – and the deadliest single U.S. twister in more than six decades. At least 750 people were injured and the estimated damage is well over $1 billion.

Over the past few days, the community has been seeing more help arrive from neighboring states and national relief organizations.

Samaritan's Purse has set up camp at Forest Park Baptist Church to provide aid to victims.

"We will help storm victims salvage valuable possessions, remove fallen trees and debris, and make emergency repairs on storm-damaged homes," the organization headed by Franklin Graham reported.

One of its Disaster Relief Units just wrapped up its work in Birmingham on Sunday and has moved over to Missouri. More than 100 tornadoes had devastated the South and killed more than 200 people last month.

North Texas was also affected by the latest storms but damage was minimal.

 

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