Deadly Storms, Fire Menace Much of US

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The National Weather Service reports the worst may finally be over for Oklahoma, after more than a dozen people died in the storm-battered state in the past several days.

The storm damage toll in Oklahoma was already in the billions of dollars. Now it will go higher after more tornadoes left residents with splintered homes, shattered cars and broken hearts.

Angela Coble lost her home in the latest set of twisters to rake the Sooner State.
 
"I really loved my home," Coble exclaimed as she stood in front of the ruins. "This house is 117 years old, and I was like, 'We're Ok.  We're going to be fine.' And, you know, it's just not."

The Oklahoma City region was hit by two terrifying storms. The latest hit Friday, bringing with it massive flooding and at least five tornadoes. 

One of those twisters was an EF3 that charged through a crowded interstate and suburban neighborhood.  The death toll has been rising as emergency workers continue to search for missing residents.  

Among the dead in Oklahoma are three storm chasers: Tim Samaras; his son, Paul Samaras; and Carl Young. The trio was researching tornadoes to help improve warning systems and predict storms in the future.

"He devoted his, literally his life, to saving other's lives and to be able to capture tornadoes and to be able to save lives through the technology he's developed," Sam's brother, Jim Samaras, said.

CBN's Operation Blessing is still on the ground in Oklahoma helping residents cope and pick up the pieces.

Volunteers are working with residents to clear debris and repair homes. They're also providing those all-important hugs and spiritual support through prayer.

Oklahoma was the state hardest hit, but those living in St. Charles County, Mo., also weathered a tornado. Resident Don Wilhelm saw it hit.

 "Watching the trees go back and forth, up and down, and when my ears popped, that's when I knew. That's when I ran for cover. And about 15 seconds later, it was all done," Wilhelm said.
 
As the storms moved east, they pelted New England, uprooting trees and leaving tens of thousands without power.
 
While the Midwest and East Coast cope with storms, parts of California and the West are contending with fire.
 
Blazes raging in southern California have destroyed more than 20,000 acres north of Los Angeles. At least 2,000 firefighters are doing battle, according to authorities.
 
L.A. County Fire Chief Daryl Osby warned, "This is a very volatile situation right now, as you can tell by the winds that it's extreme fire behavior."
 
It could be days before the fires can be brought under control, and others have been sparked in dry conditions in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and Oregon.
 
That is of concern to officials, who note that it is just the beginning of the fire season.

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John Waage

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John Waage has covered politics and analyzed elections for CBN News since 1980, including primaries, conventions, and general elections. 

He also analyzes the convulsive politics of the Middle East.