CHICAGO — At least five people were killed in Oklahoma after dozens of tornadoes swept through the Midwestern United States late on Saturday and early Sunday, leaving destruction in their wake, local media reported.


CNN television said the five fatalities, which included two children, occurred in the northwest Oklahoma town of Woodward early Sunday morning.

A total of 60 tornadoes touched down overnight in Kansas, Iowa, Nebraska and Oklahoma, reports said.

They pounded local communities with gale-force winds and hail the size of golf balls.

Homes were damaged and power lines were downed throughout the area while a hospital was wrecked in Creston, Iowa.

Officials evacuated the entire population of roughly 300 people of the town of Thurman, Iowa, after a suspected tornado struck Saturday, damaging or destroying three out of every four homes, CNN said.

Many Thurman residents took up temporary shelter at a high school in nearby Tabor, the report said.

More extensive casualties were largely avoided, the reports said, due to an early warning issued by US meteorological services, which urged people to take precautions well in advance of the storms.