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Already this weekend more than 122 reports of tornadoes have been logged.  The widespread devastation of these twisters is mind boggling. Today a wide swath of the central U.S. states are in a severe storm danger zone.

2012’s tornado season started early, and is expected to rival or surpass that of 2011, which was reported as being the most deadly season in nearly a century having claimed the lives of some 550 people. The Storm Prediction Center, part of the National Weather Service, had issued warnings of Saturday's developing system.

In Woodward Oklahoma, lightening had knocked out power, and prevented the alarms from sounding. The tornado struck in the middle of the night without warning to the local inhabitants. The devastation was massive, and five fatalities and 29 plus injuries were reported.
One of the 97 reported twisters in Kansas moved through part of Wichita, causing damage to McConnell Air Force Base, a Boeing plant, other industrial properties and a mobile home park. No fatalities have been reported associated with this tornado.

In Iowa a hospital in Creston was damaged and two people were injured by a suspected twister. Patients were moved to nearby hospitals. Most of the town of 7,500 people had lost power. In Thurman about 65 homes were damaged making them uninhabitable. Downed trees and debris littered the sidewalks and streets making it difficult to navigate.

Nebraska saw baseball sized hail in some areas.  A farmhouse roof was torn off, and the grain bin toppled near the town of Oxford, but no injuries were reported. Tornadoes briefly touched down earlier in Nebraska's Nuckolls County and Thayer County.

With today’s technology earlier warnings are possible because storm modeling has improved. In the past, people often have had only minutes of warning when a siren went off. This weekend is only the second time in U.S. history that the center issued a high-risk warning more than 24 hours in advance.



The danger is not over yet. The parts of the central plains likely to see tornadoes by Sunday afternoon, the National Weather Service said, are northeast Iowa, southeast Minnesota and parts of Wisconsin. Severe storms are also possible in a band from Illinois and Missouri southward into Arkansas, northwest Louisiana and east Texas.
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