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Tornado hits near Tulsa, Oklahoma airport as five states brace for severe weather

(Reuters) – A tornado was spotted near the main airport in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Tuesday, as 22 million people in the central United States faced a severe weather system that brought hail, heavy rain and flooding, the National Weather Service (NWS) said.

The twister near Tulsa International Airport was one of at least 22 that have ripped through the region since late Monday evening, according to the NWS. There were no immediate reports of serious injuries and airport officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

“More tornadoes are on the way today,” said NWS forecaster Rich Otto.

The NWS said it expected severe weather across Texas, Louisiana and into Alabama and as far north as Iowa and Nebraska throughout the day and into the night on Tuesday.

Flooding in the area forced evacuations and high water rescues overnight, local media reported.

Some 4 million people were under a flash flood warning or watch through Tuesday in the region.

On Monday, the NWS said the risk of tornadoes in the region was higher than at any time in years.

Local media and officials reported that some homes and businesses were damaged but it was not immediately known if there were any serious injuries.

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“Flooding is still the big concern,” Otto said. “Some areas could get another 2 inches (5 cm) of rain today, but that comes after another 5 to 10 inches (13-25 cm) some areas have already seen.”

A new storm system is brewing and could hit the same southern states later this week.

“The whole area is in the bullseye, with more rounds of severe storms possible,” the forecaster said.

Reporting by Rich McKay in Atlanta and Brendan O’Brien in Milwaukee; Editing by Scott Malone and Jeffrey Benkoe

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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