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Survivors sought as more storms threaten Plains

Story Highlights

• More storm warnings issued for Plains states
• Kansas emergency management confirms 10th death
• President Bush declares major disaster in southwest Kansas
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GREENSBURG, Kansas (CNN) -- Rescue crews Sunday resumed sifting through the rubble of a small Kansas town destroyed by tornadoes Friday night.

And parts of Oklahoma were reeling from a new set of twisters that hit Saturday night.

Officials in Kansas said 10 people were killed in the tornado-packing storms -- nine Friday night and one Saturday night.

On Sunday, the weather service posted tornado warnings during the afternoon for parts of Kansas and Oklahoma, and severe thunderstorm warnings were extended across parts of Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas.

Warnings amid cleanup

Meanwhile, the, Oklahoma town of Sweetwater, about 225 miles south of Greensburg, was hit hard by a twister that severely damaged a high school and other buildings Saturday.

Many who had fled earlier stayed away as the National Weather Service predicted "a few strong tornadoes" could form over central Kansas, western Oklahoma and the eastern Texas panhandle Sunday afternoon and evening. (Watch a 360-degree look at the devastation that twisters left behind in Greensburg Video)

Larry Ruthi, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Dodge City, Kansas, told CNN on Sunday that the tornado that struck Greensburg on Friday night was an EF-5, the highest level in a classification system used by the National Weather Service, and had estimated winds of 205 mph (330 kph).

The damage path at its widest point was about 1.7 miles (2.7 kilometers), and it tracked for 22 miles (35 kilometers). (Watch an aerial view of the devastation Video)

The tornado moved at an average speed of about 20 mph (32 kph) and took about 15 to 20 minutes to wipe out the town, he said. (Watch homes turned into piles of bricks and splintered wood Video)

Deadly twisters

Nine people were killed in twisters Friday night in Kansas -- eight in Kiowa County, which includes Greensburg, and one in Stafford County to the northeast, officials said.

The victim in Stafford was a sheriff's deputy, the Kansas Highway Patrol said.

More than 50 people were injured, authorities said.

Maj. Gen. Tod Bunting of the Kansas National Guard said Sunday he felt "confident that we've made every effort" to find possible victims, and he did not believe anyone else was missing.

"But we're not going to rest until we know for sure," he told CNN.

Authorities had stopped the search Saturday evening when the second set of severe weather was on its way.

Authorities imposed a curfew on Greensburg from 8 p.m. CT Saturday until 8 a.m. Sunday, with the Kansas National Guard helping provide security.

More than 75 tornado touchdowns were reported in Kansas and Oklahoma on Saturday -- 40 of them between 6 and 9 p.m., the National Weather Service's Storm Prediction Center said.

Bush: 'Our hearts are heavy'

Sweetwater -- which was hit about 8:15 p.m. Saturday -- seemed to get the brunt of it.

"The tornado came through and just dead-center punched Sweetwater," Roger Mills County Sheriff Joe Hay told KOCO-TV in Oklahoma City. He said there was extensive damage but just one minor injury in the small town.

The storms continued to grind north through northwestern Oklahoma toward Kansas for more than 45 minutes. (Watch a tornado bear down on an Oklahoma storm chaser Video)

In northern Kansas, 11 people were injured in the town of Osborne when a tornado struck a Pizza Hut and a nearby hotel, according to Juanita Arnold, emergency management director for Osborne County.

KOCO reported seeing damage from another confirmed tornado just east of Arnett, Oklahoma.

President Bush declared Kiowa County, Kansas, a major disaster area, making federal aid available to people and communities affected by the storm.

"Our hearts are heavy for the loss of life in Greensburg, Kansas," Bush said Sunday in videotaped remarks outside the White House.

"I declared a major disaster for that community, and I hope that helps. It's going to take a long time for the community to recover."

The Red Cross said about 90 percent of Greensburg, home to about 1,500, was destroyed or heavily damaged.

"My town is gone," Greensburg City Administrator Steve Hewitt said after surveying the wreckage Saturday. (Watch Hewitt tour devastation that includes his own home Video)

"I believe 95 percent of the homes are gone. Downtown buildings are gone, my home is gone, and we've got to find a way to make this work and get this town back on its feet," Hewitt told reporters.

Copyright 2007 CNN. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Storms flattened most of Greensburg, Kansas. City Administrator Steve Hewitt described Greensburg as "gone."


• Quiz: Twister trivia
• Gallery: 10 deadliest
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• Gallery: Facts and myths


People looking for friends or family members from Greensburg should call the American Red Cross in Pratt, Kansas, at 620-672-3651, according to Greensburg City Administrator Steve Hewitt.


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