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Tornadoes in Oklahoma and Arkansas kill one, injure 15 in severe supercell thunderstorm

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At least one person is dead and 15 injured after at least three deadly tornadoes tore through parts of Oklahoma and Arkansas during a supercell thunderstorm on Wednesday.

At least 60 buildings as well as a mobile home park were damaged in the Tulsa suburb of Sand Springs. One person was killed, and tens of thousands of residents in the area are without power.

A second tornado touched down in Moore near Oklahoma City and damaged several buildings and overturned several cars and trucks. There were also reports of tornadoes in Westport, Oklahoma, as well as in the towns of Berryville and Cliffy in Arkansas.

Tornadoes often develop from supercell thunderstorms. Supercells are formed when wind shear sets air spinning, and the updraft tips the spinning air upright. The updraft then starts rotating, forming mesocyclones within the supercell. The rising air then expands and spreads, forming an anvil cloud.

Convergence of warm air in the updraft and cooler air from the downdraft causes a rotating wall cloud to form as the mesocyclone lowers below the cloud base. An area of low pressure at the surface then pulls the mesocyclone down, forming a funnel cloud.

A tornado is then born where the funnel touches the ground.

The area is affected is known as the “Tornado Alley”, where on average more tornadoes touch down every year than in almost any other place in the United States.

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