A tornado did a lot of damage over a two-mile patch in Quapaw, Okla., in the far northeast corner of the state, where at least one person died. That tornado touched down just after 6 p.m. Sunday.
There's also damage to many businesses and homes in Baxter Springs, Kan., just north of Quapaw and west of Joplin, including in the Baxter Springs downtown area. Emergency personnel went house to house in the town of about 4,200 people several hours later. The number of people injured was not immediately determined.
The Kansas Department of Emergency Management says the tornado in Baxter Springs was estimated to be three blocks wide running southwest to northeast. It says preliminary reports are 60-70 homes and 20-25 businesses destroyed in Baxter Springs.
The tornado moved into Joplin, but no damage was reported there.
Ottawa County, Okla., sheriff's dispatcher Colleen Thompson said early in the evening that she heard two people were killed when the twister hit Quapaw around 5:30 p.m. Sunday. Later in the evening, however, the sheriff's department said only one person was confirmed dead. Photos and video from the area showed many buildings damaged in Quapaw, including a fire station.
Roads into Quapaw were blocked to all except search and rescue vehicles. A command post for the emergency response was set up at Baxter Springs High School. Helicopters were searching the debris in Quapaw for survivors. A natural gas leak was reported, and crews were trying to repair it on Sunday night.
People who want to volunteer for cleanup and search operations in Quapaw and Baxter Springs should wait until daylight Monday to go to Baxter Springs High School, where they would be assigned a specific task and area.
The tornado was one of several spawned by a large storm front moving through the Midwest and South. There have been no other reported deaths due to the storms.
Baxter Springs and Quapaw are well known to Route 66 enthusiasts. They're on the old highway between Joplin and Miami, Okla.
At 6:30, Shannon Sanderson posted a message on Facebook that debris from the tornado in Quapaw and Baxter Springs was landing on the highway at Iantha, Mo. That's just west of Lamar, north of Carthage and Joplin. That was about the time a tornado warning went out north of there near Nevada, Mo., where the NWS said a confirmed tornado was on the ground.
The Kansas Division of Emergency Management said the weather also toppled a grain elevator and damaged six homes in the southeastern town of Hammond, about five miles north of Fort Scott. A tornado also was reported northeast of Fort Scott near Hume, Mo., near the Kansas border west of Rich Hill, Mo.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.