Oklahoma City_A tornado damaged homes and businesses in the Oklahoma City area Tuesday afternoon, carving a path of destruction several miles long. No serious injuries were reported.
Six homes were damaged or destroyed near Edmond, a suburb north of Oklahoma City. Several businesses reported damage in both cities.
"We are trying to dodge our storms and keep responders safe, so it is taking some time to get confirmation of damages," said Claudia Deakins, city spokeswoman in Edmond.
The tornado damaged an Edmond business park, turning a body shop and the vehicles inside into a twisted ball of metal.
Shop manager Michael Jerry said he went home to eat and watch the weather reports as the storm moved into the area.
"It's just surreal," Jerry said. "You just don't believe it. Especially knowing you were just there minutes before. The steel girders are in a ball."
In northwest Oklahoma City, one wall of a Chuck E. Cheese restaurant collapsed and windows were blown out, Fire Chief Brian Stanaland said. Signs were stripped and cars were damaged in the parking lot.
A large section of roof was blown off an apartment building and part of a wall was blown off another. Cars were shifted by the wind and smashed into each other. Power lines littered an intersection where motorists were told to stay in their cars until crews could clear the lines.
Oklahoma Gas and Electric spokesman Brian Alford said about 14,000 customers lost power.
Lara O'Leary, a spokeswoman for Emergency Management Services Authority, said three minor injuries were reported.
"We're very hopeful residents were in their safe spots when this moved through," she said.
National Weather Service meteorologist Rick Smith said one tornado touched down in the city about 3 p.m., moved toward Edmond and north into a rural area. The path covered several miles.
Tornadoes are most numerous in Oklahoma in the spring, but can occur at any time, Smith said.
Winds of more than 60 mph caused dust storms in western Texas that reduced visibility so much some roads have been closed, the National Weather Service said.
Cody Lindsey, a meteorologist in Midland, said the winds were expected to last through early evening.
Jeff Latzke, AP Writer COPYRIGHT 2009 BY THE ASSOCIATED PRESS. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED