2 Dead From Midwestern Tornadoes

One of several tornadoes that touched down in Oklahoma today. KWTV
KWTV
Two people were found dead in their car Saturday morning after a powerful tornado blew their car off the road into a field the night before.

Gary S. Whitlow, 33, and Kimberly S. Whitlow, 29, both of Rocky Ford, Colo., were pronounced dead at the scene after authorities found their car in a wheat field 150 yards north of Highway 54, bout 13 miles east of Pratt.

The Pratt County Sheriff's Office said the car, barely visible from the road, was completely destroyed by a tornado that also swept a semi truck off the highway and knocked down power poles and lines across the road.

The twister was one of at least 17 across central and western Kansas on Friday that injured at least six people and damaged or destroyed dozens of homes.

The tornadoes began forming around 4:30 p.m. Friday and didn't subside until after midnight, spanning across at least nine counties, according to Sharon Watson, spokeswoman for the Kansas Adjutant General's Department.

At least five people were injured in Stafford County, including one who was transported to a Wichita hospital for significant injuries, Watson said.

A man in Gove County also suffered minor injuries after a tornado picked up his car and blew it across Interstate 70 into a ditch, according to George Lies, emergency management director for ogan and Gove Counties.

Emergency officials were searching for more victims on Saturday, with a Kansas Highway Patrol helicopter helping from the air.

The National Weather Service reported at least 10 tornadoes in central Kansas and another seven or more in the western part of the state. The powerful storms damaged homes and other structures, overturned semi trucks and knocked down trees and power lines across roadways.

At least 11 electric cooperatives reported damage directly related to the storm, though there were estimates for power outages.

Lies said two tornadoes hit in Gove County, with at least a dozen homes sustaining major damage.

One twister was on the ground south of Quinter, went back into the clouds when it went over the town, then dropped back down on the other side, damaging four rural houses. Another tornado hit about five or six miles to the west, between Quinter and Park, damaging eight more rural residences, Lies said.

A tornado in Pratt County caused damage along an estimated 24-mile swath northeast of Sawyer in south central Kansas, Watson said.

At least seven homes sustained major damage in Stafford County and Lane County had some mobile homes that were destroyed, though there were no injuries, according to Watson. Pratt County had some homes that were destroyed and Trego County had at least two homes destroyed, she said.

The town of Ellis was without power overnight and at least home was damaged.

Several other homes and buildings were damaged in the affected counties and numerous roads were closed due to downed power lines and trees.

Portions of the state also were under flood warnings, with as much as 8 inches of rain falling in a 48-hour period, according to Chris Foltz, meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Goodland.

In Oklahoma, emergency officials are assessing damage after several tornadoes touched down in the state's northwestern region today.

Television footage showed damage to a pig farm in Kingfisher County before the storms moved northward into Garfield County.

It's the third consecutive day Oklahomans have faced severe weather threats, reports CBS affiliate KWTV.

Most of the storms that formed over northwest Oklahoma Friday evening tracked into south-central Kansas, where they intensified and produced numerous, long-track, large tornadoes.

A string of supercells produced at least one tornado in Harper County on Friday. The storm downed some trees and power lines, and forced officials to stop a nearby high school graduation ceremony.

One home in western Oklahoma was damaged.