Clean-up efforts were underway across the Midwest on Sunday after dozens of tornadoes ripped across the region, killing five people in one Oklahoma town, three of them young girls, after storm sirens failed to sound and houses were reduced to rubble.
Storms skipped through what is often called "Tornado Alley" in the US Central and Southern Plains on Saturday and into Sunday, but the high winds and dozens of tornadoes mostly struck rural areas, sparing the region from worse damage.
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.
The stormy weekend wasn't over for the Midwest. The National Weather Service declared tornado watches in Arkansas through Missouri and into a corner of Illinois, as well as in parts of Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin. But the likelihood of the most destructive tornadoes was low.
Damaging thunderstorms were also predicted from Minnesota south to Texas into Sunday night, according to AccuWeather.com.
A twister struck the northwest Oklahoma City of Woodward after midnight on Sunday, catching many in the town of 12,000 people unaware when storm sirens failed to sound after lightning apparently disabled the warning system, Mayor Roscoe Hill said.
"This thing took us by surprise," Hill said. "It's kind of overwhelming."
The Woodward tornado killed three young girls and two adults, according to Amy Elliott of the Oklahoma Medical Examiner's Office. Two girls, ages 5 and 7, died along with a man thought to be their father in a mobile home park.
A 10-year-old girl and a man were also killed in the small community of Tangiers, just outside the Woodward city limits.
A total of 29 people were treated at Woodward Regional Hospital, chief executive officer Dave Wallace said. Of those, five were in critical condition and moved to other hospitals.
Woodward city manager Alan Riffel told CNN that all the missing people had been accounted for, but 89 homes and 13 businesses had been destroyed.
"It's remarkable we didn't have more loss of life," Governor Mary Fallin told a news conference, saying many Woodward residents had either gone to sleep or dropped their guard after an earlier series of storms swept through the area.