(NEW YORK) — At least five people are dead after violent storms ripped through several states in the nation’s mid-section as officials work to clean up the damage this morning and brace for more violent weather.
Wisconsin, Minnesota, northwest Illinois and eastern Iowa face the greatest tornado threat on Sunday, which includes possible hailstorms, forecasters said.
In the northwest Oklahoma town of Woodward, a tornado touched down shortly after midnight, killing five people, authorities said.
Along with the five fatalities, 29 people suffering from cuts and bruises to serious injuries were taken to Woodward Regional Hospital, according to officials.
Woodward City Manager Alan Riffel said the twister knocked out a transmitter that should have sent warning sirens out.
“Most people were in bed and without warning, it came through,” Riffel said.
Officials are still searching for bodies.
“We’ve had a fatality number of five and we don’t expect to find more, but we’re not stopping the search now,” Riffel said.
From Oklahoma, Kansas, Iowa and Nebraska, there were more than 120 reports of tornadoes since Saturday. Residents were warned this weekend about the outbreak of violent weather which forecasters predicted as potentially “life-threatening.”
A double tornado – two twisters from the same storm — hit Cherokee, Okla., and continued to barrel through the Midwest for more than five hours, touching down dozens of times, and crossing a distance of 250 miles.
By late Saturday, Nebraska was hit with baseball-sized hail.
Erik Olson, who manages an orchard in Nebraska City, Neb. said a storage facility was heavily damaged.
“Our neighbor called and said, ‘Part of your shop is on our house,’ and so I come from town to assess the damage, and there’s really nothing you can do about it,” said Olson.
A dozen homes, apartment buildings, and a library in Creston, Iowa were completely destroyed.
Clothing, bicycles, children’s toys, and files from now emptied file cabinets were thrown everywhere.
At one apartment complex, half of the roof was completely torn off.
In Wichita, Kansas, homes were overturned, trees uprooted, and stoplights were thrown into the streets.
“Everything is just completely gone; it’s just a big empty space like it was never there,” said one Wichita resident who lost her home.
Another Wichita resident hid with his family in the closet.
“The wind just picked up and the rain got real heavy and the hail, so we ran to the closet and the next you knew the house was moving,” he said.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Chuck Johnston, CNN Newswire