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Five Dead in Violent Oklahoma Tornados

Last updated at 11:03 p.m. ET

Five people were killed Monday in an outbreak of violent weather that dropped tornadoes across parts of the Southern Plains, tossing cars off highways and flipping mobile homes, officials said.

Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management spokesman Jerry Lojka said two people were killed in Oklahoma City and three were killed in Cleveland County to the south of the city.

Officials reported that at least seven people were injured in the daylong onslaught, which forecasters had predicted since last week. The storms were part of a violent weather system that also spawned twisters in Kansas and elsewhere in Oklahoma.

Power was out to at least 31,000 homes and business in Oklahoma. Authorities closed two cross-country interstates because wrecked vehicles blocked the roads.

"The kids and I got in the closet and prayed," said Jamie Keyes, of Norman, about 20 miles south of Oklahoma City. "I heard a hiss. It was like something was whistling very loud," she said. "We're all very fortunate."

Interstate 40, a major east-west route, was closed in both directions just east of Oklahoma City because of widespread destruction. Traffic was backed up 3 miles.

A Love's truck stop took a direct hit.

"Miracle of all miracles, we don't have any injuries from that location," Love's spokeswoman Christina Dukeman said. "We will rebuild and reopen."

Interstate 35, which runs from Mexico to Minnesota, was closed for a time at the Kansas-Oklahoma border because overturned tractor-trailers blocked all lanes. At Moore, near Oklahoma City, trucks were overturned in the median but the road remained open.

Oklahoma City and its suburbs saw three storms develop just to the west and each caused damage as they moved across an area home to 1.2 million people.

The northern storm caused property damage near Edmond; two storms to the south turned into killers - the one fatality near the truck stop and the three at Tecumseh, on the metro area's eastern edge.

"We've had a very strange event: multiple tornadic portions with this event as it came through," said David Barnes, the emergency management director for Oklahoma County. "We have multiple vehicles overturned, a housing addition has had multiple homes destroyed."

The Storm Prediction Center at Norman had predicted the outbreak, saying the atmosphere had the right mix of winds, heat and moisture. One twister touched down just east of the center's building on the University of Oklahoma campus.

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