OKLAHOMA CITY - Dozens of tornadoes tore through parts of Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska and Iowa overnight and one twister killed at least five people early on Sunday as storm sirens failed to sound in an Oklahoma town and caught people unaware.

Storms skipped across what is often called "Tornado Alley" in the US Central and Southern Plains and more were forecast. But casualties appeared limited because many of the twisters hit sparsely populated areas, and during daylight hours or evening when people were still awake.

In Oklahoma, a twister struck the northwest city of Woodward early on Sunday after lightning apparently disabled its storm warning system, Mayor Roscoe Hill said.

A total of 29 people were treated at Woodward Regional Hospital, according to chief executive officer Dave Wallace. Of these, five were in critical condition and transferred to other hospitals, while four were admitted to Woodward and are in good condition.

Two children died - and one was missing - at a mobile home park on the west side of Woodward, a town of 12,000 people, while two adults were killed in a small community just outside the city limits, Hill said. Details of the fifth death were not immediately known, according to Keli Cain, spokeswoman for Oklahoma Emergency Management.

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