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Medical examiner: 4 dead in Okla. tornadoes

A half-mile-wide tornado moves north in Canadian County after having just crossed SH-3, the Northwest Expressway, west of SH-4 moving towards Piedmont, Okla. Tuesday, May 24, 2011. A half-mile-wide tornado moves north in Canadian County after having just crossed SH-3, the Northwest Expressway, west of SH-4 moving towards Piedmont, Okla. Tuesday, May 24, 2011. (AP Photo/The Oklahoman, Paul Southerland)
By Kristi Eaton
Associated Press / May 24, 2011

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EL RENO, Okla.—Authorities say a series of tornadoes that rolled through Oklahoma City and its suburbs at rush hour have killed at least four people and critically injured at least three children.

The violent storms hit just two days after a massive tornado tore through the southwest Missouri town of Joplin, killing 122 in the deadliest single tornado to touch down since the National Weather Service began keeping official records in 1950.

The storms began about 3 p.m. in western Oklahoma and followed tracks greater than 40 miles into the state capital. State offices and many businesses let workers leave hours earlier to get out of harm's way.

Storms also raked the southern side of the city -- in the same area hit May 3, 1999, by the strongest tornado ever recorded.

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