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Storms Bring Death & Destruction To Oklahoma

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Storms move through parts of Oklahoma. (credit: Tulsa World)

Storms move through parts of Oklahoma. (credit: Tulsa World)

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FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM/AP) – Severe weather rolled through North Texas on Thursday night, but the most dangerous parts of the storm slammed southeastern Oklahoma and western Arkansas. Five people were killed in the storm and at least one tornado is believed to have touched down in the tiny town of Tushka, Oklahoma.

Two of those five deaths came from the suspected tornado. The other three deaths were in Arkansas. And dozens more were injured when strong winds, hail and lightning ripped across the region. A dispatcher at the Sheriff’s Department in Tushka said that the town will most likely be declared a disaster area.

The small town of Tushka is located in southeastern Oklahoma, just south of Atoka in Atoka County. About 350 people call the town their home. The two residents who died were both adults living in the same home. Others who were hurt displayed everything from minor cuts and bruises to more severe injuries.

In addition to injuries, the storm also left a path of destruction. Several homes and businesses were either damaged or completely destroyed. The only school in Tushka was destroyed. Most of Atoka County is left without power. Trees and downed power lines are blocking many of the town’s roads.

The American Red Cross has opened a shelter in Tushka to assist those who have been displaced by the storm. The Sheriff’s Department estimates that hundreds of people will now be homeless.

After tearing through Oklahoma, the same storm system brought devastation to Garland County, located just to the west of Little Rock, Arkansas. Three people died there. A 24-year-old man and an 18-month-old girl were killed when a tree fell onto their home. Another 1-year-old child was also killed. Power was gone throughout most of western Arkansas and several mobile homes were damaged or destroyed.

Meanwhile, here in North Texas, thunderstorms blasted the region with hail and wind winds. The National Weather Service received reports of hail the size of marbles, golf balls and eggs. Winds were gusting at an estimated 70 mph in the northern Dallas suburbs. But only a few instances of damage were reported, and no injuries.

However, many North Texas residents did lose their power in the storms. Crews from Oncor started work early Friday morning to restore electricity to nearly 3,800 customers. Most of the outages were in Dallas and locations to the east. This all comes after about 90,000 homes and businesses lost power on Monday in a separate round of severe weather.

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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