OKLAHOMA CITY (RNN) – Authorities have confirmed five people are dead and at least 29 injured in Woodward, OK after more than 100 tornadoes touched down across the Midwest Saturday.
Officials have warned that it may have been one of the worst tornado outbreaks in history, although there have been no reports of fatalities in other states.
In an interview with the Associated Press, Woodward Mayor Roscoe Hill said sirens were not sounding when the tornado hit although they had previously been working during Saturday's storms.
Southeast Kansas braced itself for its second round of dangerous weather as tornadoes continued to rip through the Plains states.
Multiple tornadoes touched down late Saturday night and threatened the metro area of Wichita, which has a population of nearly 631,000 people.
By Sunday morning, 97 tornadoes touched down in Kansas alone, according to Gov. Sam Brownback. No fatalities have been reported in the state.
Other large tornadoes touched down in the Midwest on Saturday evening in what officials believe could be one of the most serious outbreaks in U.S. history.
The National Weather Service estimates that there may have been 121 tornadoes to touch down across the Plains, and the threat of severe weather is expected to last until well into Sunday.
Most of those storms began in rural areas earlier, but they approached heavily populated areas later in the day.
In Creston, IA, about an hour and a half southwest of Des Moines, a possible tornado hit a hospital just before 9:30 p.m. ET, according to a dispatcher with the Union County Sheriff's Department.
"We have been hit. We are triaging and moving patients," confirmed a spokeswoman at Greater Regional Medical Center.
Staff members set up a temporary hospital at Southwestern Community College, city council member Randy White said.
Creston Mayor Warren Woods said that most of the city is without power.
Wichita, KS, was left ravaged after it was hit by a possible wedge tornado – a large, wide storm that does not have a distinct point at the bottom because of its massive size – earlier Saturday. Wedge tornadoes are capable of causing significantly more damage.
Baseball-sized hail broke windows and ripped apart homes in northeast Nebraska. Hail also reportedly shattered windows and damaged vehicles in Petersburg, about 140 miles northwest of Omaha, and more tornadoes were spotted in Oklahoma.
The Storm Prediction Center, part of the National Weather Service, said the outbreak could be a "high-end, life-threatening event."
The National Weather Service's Wichita office used an experimental warning system that gave graphic terms to warn residents of potential harm.
The destruction of the tornadoes was expected to be so widespread that on Friday the National Weather Service gave a more than 24-hour notice of the severe weather.
This is just the second time in U.S. history the National Weather Service has issued a severe storm notice more than a day in advance.
It happened once before in April 2006 when 100 tornadoes that swept across Tennessee killed 12 people and destroyed more than 1,000 homes.
More storms are possible in north Texas, Iowa, southeast South Dakota and southern Minnesota.
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