An early spring storm swept across the central U.S. early Thursday, spinning off tornadoes that killed an Oklahoma couple in a home that was blown to pieces and a Colorado woman whose small town was nearly destroyed.
A tornado as wide as two football fields carved a destructive path through Holly, Colorado, late Wednesday, destroying five homes, damaging dozens more and littering the streets with broken power lines, tree limbs and debris.
A 28-year-old woman who suffered massive injuries during the twister died after she was airlifted to a hospital in Colorado Springs, Prowers County Coroner Joe Giadone said Thursday.
The line of storms stretched nearly the length of the United States, from South Dakota to Texas. As it headed east on Thursday, it threatened flash flooding in central Nebraska and Kansas. More severe weather was expected in Oklahoma, as well, forecasters said.
At least 11 tornadoes were reported throughout western Nebraska on Wednesday, destroying or damaging three homes and 10-12 miles (16 -19 kilometers) of power lines, emergency management officials said.
A husband and wife were killed near Elmwood, Oklahoma, when the storm blew apart their home, said Dixie Parker, Beaver County's emergency management director.
The same storm system had dumped snow on Wyoming, causing traffic accidents and closing highways Wednesday, officials said.
As the storm moved through Texas, the Panhandle region was hit with hail, rain and 70 mph (113 kph) wind that downed power lines and uprooted trees. Tornadoes also touched down, including one that was on the ground at Caprock Canyons State Park for about 20 minutes, the National Weather Service said. The storm overturned trucks, and at least three people were hospitalized with injuries.