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Toll: Four dead in Oklahoma, two in Kansas

Tuesday, May 24, 2011 | 8:00 p.m. CDT; updated 11:29 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, May 24, 2011

EL RENO, Okla.  — Violent thunderstorms roared across middle America on Tuesday, killing six people in two states, with several tornadoes touching down in Oklahoma and high winds pounding rural Kansas.

The high-powered storms arrived as forecast, just two days after a massive tornado tore through the southwest Missouri town of Joplin and killed 122 people.

Several tornadoes struck Oklahoma City and its suburbs during rush hour, killing at least four people and injuring at least 60 others, including three children who were in critical condition, authorities said.

Cherokee Ballard, a spokeswoman for the state medical examiner, said four people died west of Oklahoma City in Canadian County, where a weather-monitoring site in El Reno recorded 151 mph winds. She did not have any immediate details about the deaths.

In Kansas, police said two people died when high winds threw a tree into their van around 6 p.m. near the small town of St. John, about 100 miles west of Wichita. The highway was shut down because of storm damage.

More severe weather was expected after nightfall as the storms continued east — including toward Joplin, Mo., which is cleaning up from a Sunday storm that was the nation's eighth-deadliest twister among records dating to 1840.

"Unfortunately, this event will likely continue for some time," Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin said. "I am asking all Oklahomans to stay aware of the weather and to take proper precautions to keep themselves out of harm's way."


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