Five people were killed and several injured when dozens of tornadoes hit the American midwest - specifically the states of Oklahoma, Nebraska, Iowa and Kansas. However, early warning systems helped some people to take precautions in advance.
Not everyone was so lucky though; storm sirens in parts of Oklahoma failed to alert the people, resulting in the deaths of five people - three of them young girls. Three of those found dead were two girls (aged five and seven) and a man, reportedly their father, in a mobile home park. The bodies were found by Amy Elliott of the Oklahoma Medical Examiner's Office. Meanwhile, a man and another young girl (aged 10) were also killed, just outside the Woodward city area, Reuters reported.
The Storm Prediction Center took the step of warning people more than 24 hours in advance of a possible "high-end, life-threatening event".
The storm destroyed buildings, blew roofs off houses, uprooted trees and twisted and wrecked power lines. Woodward city manager Alan Riffel told CNN that all the missing people had been found but 89 homes and 13 businesses were destroyed. A hospital in Creston, Iowa also suffered damages.
According to the Reuters report, the storms left thousands without power in Kansas, hit an aircraft fuselage production facility, and damaged up to 90 percent of homes and buildings in a small Iowa town. The governors of Kansas and Oklahoma declared states of emergency.
"It's a royal mess," Mike Crecelius, the Director of Emergency Management for Fremont County said. Crecelius added that in Thurman town in Iowa state (with a population of 250), some 75 percent to 90 percent of the town's buildings and homes were damaged or destroyed by the storm.
Officials have asked residents to utilise services like weather radios, smartphones and television warnings to keep themselves updated of climatic warnings.
"Sirens are referred to as outdoor warning systems, and that's what they're there for: to tell people who are outdoors to come inside and find out what's going on," Albert Ashwood, the Director of Oklahoma's Office of Emergency Management was quoted as saying in the Associated Press.
American Red Cross workers were operating shelters and providing meals, along with relief and cleanup supplies such as comfort kits, tarps, coolers and rakes.
"Our thoughts are with everyone affected by these tornadoes," Red Cross Disaster Services senior vice president Charley Shimanski said in a statement, "Red Cross chapters are already offering folks food and a safe place to stay and more workers and equipment are being sent it to help people who were in the path of these storms."