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Five Dead After Friday's Tornadoes from OKC to St. Louis

Five people are dead after tornadoes touched down from Oklahoma City to St. Louis late Friday.

Among the dead, all in Oklahoma, were a mother and her baby near Union City, according to the Associated Press.

There were 24 tornado sightings reported to NOAA's Storm Prediction Center. That number likely includes some sightings of the same tornado, but does not include any of the tornadoes around the Oklahoma City area.

Preliminary damage paths for Friday's tornadoes, from the National Weather Service's Norman Office, show that downtown Oklahoma City missed a direct hit as two twisters passed just to the southwest and southeast.

The city's Will Rogers World Airport reported a 71-mph wind gust at 7:26 p.m. CDT as one tornado passed by immediately to the north. Nearby Tinker Air Force Base recorded a 87-mph wind gust.

It was not just tornadoes that targeted the Oklahoma City area late Friday, but also flash flooding.

Will Rogers Airport received a record 5.64 inches of rain on Friday. Runoff from that rain flooded pedestrian tunnels in downtown Oklahoma City, while flood waters half engulfed cars on the west-southwest side of the city.

Shortly after the tornadoes struck the Oklahoma City area, St. Louis became the target of other tornadoes between 8 and 8:15 p.m. CDT.

Residents retrieve belongings from a home destroyed by the tornadoes that tore through central Oklahoma on Friday, May 31, 2013, in Union City, Okla. (AP Photo/Nick Oxford)

Tornado damage to the St. Louis area included the roof being ripped off the Hollywood Casino in Maryland Heights, three to four outbuildings destroyed at Lambert Field and tree damage in the city's suburb of Bridgeton.

Homes were damaged in the nearby communities of Harvester and Weldon Spring, Mo. A camper near Harvester was lifted over a parked car and pushed into a home, while a passenger car was shoved eight feet into a front yard.

Friday's severe thunderstorms and tornadoes erupted in the warm and humid air pouring northward from the Gulf of Mexico as a cold front approached from the northern Plains. Extremely drier air from the Desert Southwest was another key ingredient to the formation of the tornadoes in Oklahoma.

The danger for severe thunderstorms and tornadoes has left the corridor from St. Louis to Oklahoma City, now threatening communities from Detroit to Memphis to Dallas today.

More comfortable air today has replaced Friday's tornadoes around Oklahoma City. Rain that started this weekend in St. Louis is pushing away and will be followed by cooler and less humid air for Sunday.