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Monday, June 17, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Nation

Tornadoes rake Southern Plains; more severe weather expected

UPDATED: Sat., May 18, 2019, 6:38 p.m.

Wesley Mantooth lifts a wooden chair out a window of the home of his father, Robert, in Abilene, Texas, on Saturday, May 18, 2019. Many residents said a tornado struck in the early morning hours. (Ronald W. Erdrich / AP)
Wesley Mantooth lifts a wooden chair out a window of the home of his father, Robert, in Abilene, Texas, on Saturday, May 18, 2019. Many residents said a tornado struck in the early morning hours. (Ronald W. Erdrich / AP)
Associated Press

DALLAS – A spate of tornadoes raked across the Southern Plains, leaving damage and causing few injuries, and parts of the region were bracing for more severe thunderstorms and possible flooding.

The National Weather Service confirmed an EF2 twister Saturday morning with winds up to 130 mph that destroyed at least two homes and left one person with minor injuries in southwestern Oklahoma.

A suspected tornado caused roof damage to “numerous” homes in northwestern Arkansas, a state official said, and severe winds downed trees and power lines across a highway, blocking all lanes.

Energy companies in Oklahoma and Arkansas reported tens of thousands of customers were without power Saturday afternoon.

Tornadoes touched down Friday in Kansas and rural parts of Nebraska, tearing up trees and powerlines, and damaging some homes and farm buildings, according to the National Weather Service.

In Abilene, Texas, a city 150 miles west of Fort Worth, strong winds prompted the evacuation of a nursing home and left numerous homes and businesses damaged, according to the Abilene Reporter-News. A spokeswoman for the city said no deaths or serious injuries were reported.

The National Weather Service issued a tornado watch until 8 p.m. Saturday for the western half of Arkansas. Portions of North Texas also were under a tornado watch and a flash flood warning was issued in the Dallas area Saturday afternoon.

Forecasters warned of heavy rain, lightning, pingpong ball-sized hail and flooding as a line of storms moves west to east through afternoon, covering an area from south of Killeen, Texas, to north of the Oklahoma state line.

In Oklahoma City, thunderstorms prevented workers from securing and removing glass from Devon Tower, which was damaged Wednesday when a scaffolding holding two window washers banged against the building, The Oklahoman reported. Officials said the rain and winds blew broken glass from the tower and compromised the integrity of other panes.

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