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The Latest: NWS confirms EF2 tornado in southern Oklahoma

May 18, 2019
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Wesley Mantooth lifts a wooden chair out a window of the home of his father, Robert, in Abilene, Texas, on Saturday, May 18, 2019. Many residents said a tornado struck in the early morning hours. (Ronald W. Erdrich/The Abilene Reporter-News via AP)
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Wesley Mantooth lifts a wooden chair out a window of the home of his father, Robert, in Abilene, Texas, on Saturday, May 18, 2019. Many residents said a tornado struck in the early morning hours. (Ronald W. Erdrich/The Abilene Reporter-News via AP)

GERONIMO, Okla. (AP) — The Latest on severe weather in the Southern Plains (all times local):

5:15 p.m.

Authorities have confirmed a tornado with winds up to 130 mph (209 kph) touched down in southern Oklahoma.

The National Weather Service says the EF2 twister Saturday morning traveled for about a half a mile in Geronimo, about 80 miles (129 kilometers) southwest of Oklahoma City, damaging two homes and sending one injured person to the hospital as a precaution.

They’re also investigating reported wind damage in the southeast and north of the state.

In northwest Arkansas, a state official said multiple people are stranded on recreational trails due to downed trees.

Meanwhile, energy companies for both states are reporting tens of thousands of people are without power.

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4:00 p.m.

Arkansas officials say suspected tornadoes have damaged homes, downed trees and cut power to some areas in the western part of the state.

Melody Daniel, spokeswoman for the state’s emergency management department, says fallen trees have blocked all lanes of traffic on Route 64 in northwestern Arkansas, while a possible tornado in Fort Smith has caused roof damage to “numerous” homes.

In Paris, about 600 homes as well as the county’s emergency dispatch office have lost power, but Daniel says the office has redundancies to provide dispatch services.

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3:30 p.m.

A spate of tornadoes raked across the Southern Plains, leaving damage and causing few injuries, and parts of the region were bracing for more severe thunderstorms and possible flooding.

Tornadoes touched down Friday in Kansas and rural parts of Nebraska, tearing up trees and powerlines, and damaging some homes and farm buildings, according to the National Weather Service. More twisters destroyed at least two homes and left one person with minor injuries in southwestern Oklahoma early Saturday, KWTV television reports.

The National Weather Service issued a tornado watch until 8 p.m. Saturday for the western half of Arkansas. Portions of North Texas were under a tornado watch until 5 p.m. and a flash flood warning was issued in the Dallas area until 4:45 p.m.

Forecasters warned of heavy rain, lightning, pingpong ball-sized hail and flooding as a line of storms moves west to east through afternoon, covering an area from south of Killeen, Texas, to north of the Oklahoma state line.

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