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Severe weather strikes central OK

Emergency responders set up shelters, search for survivors as early tornadoes tear through state.

BY STEPHANIE BACKUS | EDMOND | February 10, 2009

Oklahoma residents took cover Tuesday afternoon after tornadoes reportedly touched down in the state. State officials said the storms did damage in the Edmond area and they were requiring residents in several neighborhoods to show identification before they were allowed back to their homes.

Thunderstorms began developing west of Oklahoma City mid-afternoon. Some schools had already dismissed students, but Edmond schools held their students until the storms dissipated. Oklahoma City Public Schools cancelled all events scheduled for Tuesday night.

The Red Cross set up a shelter at Waterloo Baptist Church for survivors. They also provided relief to emergency response workers. More than 12,000 people in central Oklahoma were without power early Tuesday evening.

The National Weather Service forecast the possibility of severe thunderstorms throughout Tuesday night. They said the storms could produce heavy rains, high winds, hail and tornadoes. Tennis ball sized hail was reported north of Oklahoma City near Guthrie, Okla. Other areas in the metro saw pea and dime sized hail as well as heavy rains.

Meteorologists in the area were concerned Tuesday evening about the possibility of flooding, citing the slow movement of the storm front. The possibility of storms stretched from Texas to Northwest Arkansas. Rain and warmer temperatures also raised the possibility of flooding in Missouri, but severe weather was not expected.

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