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More deadly storms hit Midwest

A line of violent thunderstorms roared across middle America, killing six people in two states, with several tornadoes touching down in Oklahoma and high winds pounding rural Kansas.

The storms arrived as forecast, just two days after a massive tornado tore through the south-west Missouri town of Joplin and killed at least 122 people.

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

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 240km/h winds.

In Kansas, police said two people died when high winds threw a tree into their van near the small town of St John, about 160km west of Wichita. The highway was shut down because of storm damage.

More severe weather was expected today as the storms continued east.

The line of storms began at about 3pm in Oklahoma and followed tracks greater than 64km into the state’s capital city before continuing on towards Tulsa. Oklahoma state offices and many businesses let workers leave early to get out of harm’s way.

Storm clouds also spawned funnel clouds and at least one tornado around North Texas, but there were no immediate reports of damage or injuries.

In Missouri, rescuers moved from one enormous debris pile to another, racing to respond to any report of a possible survivor.

As Joplin’s death toll rose to at least 122, with nine survivors pulled from the rubble, searchers raced against the clock because anybody still alive after the deadliest single tornado in 60 years was losing precious strength two days after the disaster.

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