Oklahoma battered by tornadoes, hail
Dangerous thunderstorms and tornadoes erupted across the southern Plains states Monday afternoon and were expected to continue overnight, meteorologists said.
The National Weather Service issued tornado and severe thunderstorm warnings Monday for portions of southern and western Oklahoma, as well as a tornado watch for 17 counties, warning of hail "the size of golf balls" and winds up to 90 mph. Winds up to 92 mph had already been recorded at weather stations late Monday, they reported.
The dangerous storms were expected to spread east Monday night, threatening the state capital, Oklahoma City, according to Accuweather meteorologist Kristina Pydynowski.
Also at risk: damaged homes and buildings near the central Oklahoma epicenter of the state's record 5.6-magnitude earthquake on Saturday.
No major injuries from the storms had been reported late Monday.
An Oklahoma State University extension field office was destroyed as tornadoes touched down in southwestern Oklahoma on Monday, university officials told the Associated Press.
Some residents two miles south of Tipton, Okla., were trapped after their house was damaged by the storms, but they were eventually rescued and were not injured, Tillman County emergency management director Jeffrey Rector told the Associated Press.
At about 3 p.m. Central time Monday, storm spotters reported a large tornado south of Tipton, about 130 miles southwest of Oklahoma City, headed toward Snyder.
The same tornado apparently touched down in Tillman County, destroying a structure and damaging at least three others, according to KOCO-TV. The tornado weakened before striking Snyder, but additional tornadoes associated with the same storm system have also touched down in the area, the station reported.
At 4:15 p.m., another dangerous tornado was headed toward Alden, Okla., about 100 miles southwest of the capital, Accuweather meteorologists said.
Additional tornadoes have been sighted with other thunderstorms in southwestern Oklahoma, including near Hobart, 120 miles west of Oklahoma City.
Golf-ball-sized hail was reported with thunderstorms west of Hollis, Okla., 170 miles west of the capital, on Monday afternoon
The powerful thunderstorms will press eastward tonight with Oklahoma City, Tulsa and McAlester, Okla., and potentially Dallas and Austin, Texas, in their path.
--Molly Hennessy-Fiske in Houston