US tornadoes cause more damage

Tuesday 17th Apr 2012 by theWeather Club

Image: Reid Campo

Tornadoes make the headlines again across the US Midwest with the National Weather Service receiving more than 122 reports of tornadoes touching down in Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska and Iowa. Early warnings of severe weather and the sound of tornado sirens ringing out helped many to find a safe place to hide from these menacing twisters. But in the northwest town of Woodward many residents were caught unaware after storm sirens failed to sound. The town's 20 outdoor tornado sirens were knocked out when lightning struck the tower used to activate the warning system.

In Woodward the storms battered buildings including the hospital, local jail, and the Air Force base. Woodward City Manager Alan Riffel said 89 homes and 13 businesses were destroyed, and survivors of this small town emerged to find flipped cars and smashed trailers. The National Weather Service said a tornado in the vicinity of Woodward was reported at 12:18am on Sunday. Local residents relied on television weathermen to warn them of impending tornadoes whilst others learnt from neighbours or telephone calls from frantic relatives. Many residents were asleep and, with the storm sirens knocked out, would have been unaware of the tornado until it hit. "We heard the sirens yesterday afternoon, and they blew for 40 minutes," said Andra Raymer, as she picked through the rubble of her home that was covered with insulation, broken glass and splintered wood. "Last night when this one came through, we didn't hear anything."

The storms led to multiple tornado outbreaks throughout most of Sunday from Kansas to Minnesota. A National Weather Service official said a "month's worth" of tornados were spotted Sunday in Kansas.