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Tornado hits Baton Rouge, huge hail pelts Oklahoma and Arkansas

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The National Weather Service confirmed that an EF-1 tornado touched down near Baton Rouge, Louisiana early Friday morning, May 12, 2017. The tornado ripped through Sherwood Forest area around 09:00 CDT, causing significant damage.

The twister tossed a vehicle located at the Racetrac gas station on Old Hammond Highway, knocked out power and brought down trees, prompting authorities to reroute traffic while the damage was cleared.

According to EMS, around the time the tornado hit, one person was transported to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries. The tornado's wind speed was around 90 mph (145 km/h) and the path length was about a half mile long (800 m), NWS said.

On Thursday, May 11, at least four tornadoes were reported, including three in Oklahoma and one in Texas. 

The storm dropped hail as large as 4 inches (10 cm), damaging buildings and vehicles in Boone County, Arkansas, while hailstones as large as 4.5 inches (11.4 cm) pelted Perkins, Oklahoma.

A tornado with a preliminary rating of EF-1 was spotted around 14:05 CDT on May 11 between the towns of Owasso and Collinsville, northeast of Tulsa, Oklahoma. The twister destroyed and damaged several homes but there were no injuries reported. NWS said damage surveys are underway. More than 4 400 homes and businesses were without power

The second tornado in Oklahoma touched down at 15:13 CDT 1 mile (1.6 km) southwest of Perkins in Payne County. The third tornado was reported at 17:11 CDT, about 1 miles (1.6 km) northeast of Ramona in Washington Country. As of early Friday morning, three highways in Oklahoma are impacted by high water or flooding. The westbound lanes of Oklahoma 20, between Peoria Avenue and Oklahoma 11, and Oklahoma 11 between 136th Street North and Oklahoma 20 are closed due to flooding or high water in Tulsa County. Oklahoma 80, about 5 miles (8 km) south of Oklahoma 51 between Hulbert and Fort Gibson, is also closed.

The NWS confirmed that an EF-0 tornado touched down around 16:00 CDT in Willis Point, near Edgewood in Van Zandt County, Texas, not far from where a deadly twister hit in Canton on April 30 killed four people and injured more than 50. Thursday's tornado was brief, approximately 2 miles (3.2 km) long and about 40 – 50 yards (35 – 45 m) wide. Two homes suffered damage, with the bulk of it coming from airborne debris hitting the houses. Several residents reported seeing the tornado as it moved in a non-continuous path southwest and south of Edgewood.

Featured image: Sherwood Forest tornado, Louisiana; huge hail in Perkins, Oklahoma – May 12/11, 2017. Credit: Jeremy Norwood (tornado), Wayne Grinder (hail)

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