Damaging storms hit Oklahoma and Kansas, causing injuries

OKLAHOMA (AP): Powerful storms with widespread wind gusts and reported tornadoes swept across Oklahoma and Kansas, leaving more than a dozen people injured, and some Michigan residents faced a fifth-straight day Monday without power following last week’s ice storm.

In California, the National Weather Service said a series of winter storm systems will continue moving into the state through Wednesday after residents got a brief break from severe weather on Sunday.

About 20 miles (32 kilometers) south of Oklahoma City, the Norman Police Department responded Sunday night to storm damage on the south and eastern sides of Norman. Officials in Norman said there were 12 confirmed weather-related injuries, but none were considered critical.

Crews were canvasing the damaged area looking for others who might be injured. Possible tornadoes and widespread wind gusts up to 90 mph (144 kilometers) were reported in Oklahoma, with downed trees and power lines, road closures and damage to homes around Norman and Shawnee.

A tornado touched down Sunday near Liberal, Kansas, the National Weather Service said, and more than a dozen homes were reported damaged, KSNW-TV reported. One person had minor injuries, the station said.

The Storm Prediction Center said that the severe weather threat remained Monday as thunderstorms were expected to produce damaging gusts across the Ohio Valley. At least a few tornadoes are were possible, especially across Ohio on Monday afternoon, the center said.

In Michigan, crews continued to work to restore electricity. Leah Thomas, whose home north of Detroit lost power Wednesday night, was still waiting Sunday afternoon for the power to come back.

Thomas said she feels lucky that she and their 17-year-old son have been able to stay at her parents’ nearby home, which still has power, while they are in Florida.

With her husband traveling out of town, Thomas said it was up to her to recharge the battery to their home’s backup sump pump Sunday with her car. She went to multiple stores to find a long cable for the task.

“I’m a strong woman. I figured it out,” she said. “Our basement is OK, so we’re the lucky ones.”

But with the local school district on mid-winter break, Thomas said some of their neighbors have been out of town and will be returning to find a mess from burst water pipes and flooded basements.

“They don’t know what they’re coming home to,” she said.

In hard-hit southeastern Michigan, still reeling from the ice storm and high winds, the state’s two main utilities — DTE Energy and Consumers Energy — reported more than 93,000 homes and businesses were without power as of Monday morning. More than 61,000 of those were DTE customers.

California, meanwhile, got a brief break from severe weather after a powerful storm a day earlier swelled Los Angeles-area rivers to dangerous levels, flooded roads and dumped snow at elevations as low as about 1,000 feet (300 meters). The sun came out briefly Sunday in greater LA, where residents emerged to marvel at mountains to the north and east blanketed in white.

Suburban Santa Clarita, in hills north of Los Angeles, received its first significant snowfall since 1989.

“We went outside and we let our sons play in the snow,” resident Cesar Torres told the Santa Clarita Signal. “We figured, while the snow’s there, might as well make a snowman out of it.”