US & Canada

Massive tornado rips through Oklahoma City suburbs

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Media captionUpturned cars were strewn amongst the wreckage of flattened homes, as the BBC's Jon Brain reports

A massive tornado has ripped through neighbourhoods near Oklahoma City, on the second day in a row the state has been pummelled by destructive twisters.

The "mile-wide" storm sparked fires and flattened homes as it tore through.

On Sunday, at least two people died and 21 more were injured by the tornadoes.

The worst damage was caused by a twister near the town of Shawnee, 35 miles (55km) from Oklahoma City, where a mobile home part was razed and thousands have lost electricity.

Tornadoes, hail and high winds also hit Iowa and Kansas, part of a storm system stretching from Texas to Minnesota.

The National Weather Service (NWS) says there is a continuing risk of dangerous thunderstorms in the region that could produce hail and tornadoes on Monday afternoon.

'Everything is gone'

On Sunday, a tornado smashed a trailer park on Highway 102 near Shawnee.

Steelman Estates Mobile Home Park resident James Hoke said he had emerged from a storm cellar with his family to find their mobile home vanished.

"Everything is gone," he said.

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Media captionStorm chasers have filmed tornadoes touching down in Texas and Kansas

As he tried to help neighbours, Mr Hoke said he found his wife's father covered in rubble.

"My father-in-law was buried under the house. We had to pull Sheetrock off of him," Mr Hoke said.

Oklahoma's state medical examiner confirmed on Monday that two people had been killed near the trailer park: Glen Irish, 79, and Billy Hutchinson, 76.

Both lived in Shawnee, but it was not immediately clear if either or both lived in mobile home park.

The Oklahoman newspaper reported that five people were brought to Norman Regional Hospital for injuries, with three injured critically.

"This is the worst I've seen in Pottawatomie County in my 25 years of law enforcement," county Sheriff Mike Booth said.

The massive storm system had prompted the NWS to issue a blunt warning to residents in the affected states.

"You could be killed if not underground or in a tornado shelter," the agency warned. "Complete destruction of neighbourhoods, businesses and vehicles will occur."

One resident, Amber Ash, said her home had been hit by a tornado as she waited in a storm shelter.

"Once it passed, we got out and saw the devastation," she said. "Everything I had was destroyed."

Thousands of residents in the affected areas have been left without power.

Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin declared a state of emergency in 16 counties in order to send aid to the worst-hit parts of the state.

At least four tornadoes ravaged the state on Sunday, part of a storm system that was moving north-east across the Midwestern states and Texas.

"Right now we're in a rescue and recovery stage," Gov Fallin said. "We're still not in the clear yet."

A twister with an estimated 110mph (177km/h) wind speed touched down on Sunday afternoon near Wichita's Mid-Continent airport.

It knocked out power to thousands of homes and businesses, but bypassed the most populated areas of Kansas' largest city.

Presenters of a local afternoon news programme were forced to evacuate during a live broadcast as the tornado touched down.

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