Published: May 11, 2010 11:03 AM EDT

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) - Violent storms that tore through the

southern Plains killed five people and injured dozens more, leaving

behind flattened homes, toppled semitrailers and downed power


Several tornadoes were reported in Oklahoma and Kansas on Monday

as the storms moved through the area, dumping hail as big as

baseballs and leaving tens of thousands of people without power.

"The kids and I got in the closet and prayed," said Jamie

Keyes, of Norman, an Oklahoma City suburb that is home to the

University of Oklahoma. "I heard a hiss. It was like something was

whistling very loud."

Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management spokesman Jerry

Lojka said two people were killed in Oklahoma City and three were

killed in Cleveland County, south of the city. Oklahoma City

officials said the fatalities there involved a young boy who was

hit by debris in his home and a man whose recreational vehicle

flipped over on top of him. Details on the Cleveland County deaths

weren't immediately available.

Officials reported that at least 58 others were injured - two of

them critically - in a tornado outbreak that forecasters had been

predicting since last week.

In Norman - Cleveland County's largest city with about 106,000

residents - Tim Tegeler checked out the damage to his windows, air

conditioner and fence at his home. Tegeler, his wife, their

daughters and their pet fish had taken shelter in their laundry

room until the storms passed.

"We saw it coming, but the best thing is my family's fine,"

Tegeler said.

Neighbor Linda Sugg was picking up debris in her front yard.

"You could just hear stuff hitting the house," said Sugg, who

was in her home during the storms.

Near Seminole, about 60 miles east of Oklahoma City, at least

two homes were leveled after a tornado went through, Emergency

Management Director Ernie Willis said. The town's airport suffered

extensive damage and several planes there were destroyed, he said.

East of Oklahoma City, widespread destruction led authorities to

shut down Interstate 40, a major east-west route.

Interstate 35, which runs from Mexico to Minnesota, also was

closed briefly at the Kansas-Oklahoma border because overturned

tractor-trailers blocked all lanes. At Moore, near Oklahoma City,

trucks were overturned in the median, but the road remained open.

The Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management said more than

65,000 homes and businesses were without power.

In Kansas, the most serious damage was reported in Belmont.

Several homes were hit in the town east of Topeka and there were

widespread power outages. But no injuries were reported.

Oklahoma City and its suburbs saw three storms develop Monday

afternoon just to the west and each caused damage as they moved

across an area home to 1.2 million people. The northern storm

caused property damage near Edmond; two storms to the south turned

into killers.

"We've had a very strange event: multiple tornadic portions

with this event as it came through," said David Barnes, the

emergency management director for Oklahoma County. "We have

multiple vehicles overturned, a housing addition has had multiple

homes destroyed."

In Alfalfa County, Sheriff Charlie Tucker said baseball-sized

hail broke the windshields of numerous cars and damaged homes.

"I came home once to look at my own personal vehicle and the

windshield was all bashed out. The grandchildren's swing set was up

and now it's gone, so there was straight-line winds that came

through," Tucker said.

The Storm Prediction Center at Norman had predicted tornadoes,

saying the atmosphere had the right mix of winds, heat and

moisture. One twister touched down just east of the center's

building on the University of Oklahoma campus.