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Eight people died last night when a tornado struck Lone Grove, a town of 5200 near the southern edge of Oklahoma. Seven were residents of a mobile home park that was destroyed in the storm; the eighth was a truck driver from Jones, east of Oklahoma City, who was passing through. Lone Grove’s only furniture store was destroyed (photo above).

The National Weather Service had issued the first of two tornado warnings for Carter County at 6:50 p.m., the second at 7:15 when the tornado was sighted. The twister hit Lone Grove at 7:25 p.m.

James Dalton, emergency manager of neighboring Durant/Bryan County, said the tornado ripped through the east edge of the town. Dalton’s crews reported “there was about a half-mile wide path of destruction that was about six miles long.”

According to Tim Talley’s detailed report for AP, there was no place for the mobile home residents to take shelter. Read stories of storm survivors here and here.

Storm chaser Martin Lisius of Arlington, Texas, who tracked yesterday’s supercells, said he believes global warming has changed the onset of violent storms. “Over the past several years, I have seen an earlier arrival of spring, particularly in North Texas and Oklahoma,” Lisius said. “March used to be what we considered the start of tornado season here, but February is looking more like March did.”

A tornado watch is in effect for much of Tennessee and Kentucky today.

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