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Tornado kills four, injures up to 50 in southern Oklahoma

Lightning is seen in the background as motorists drive along Waterloo Road near Edmond, Oklahoma. (AP)

Authorities say at least four people have been killed by a large, violent tornado that ripped through a southern Oklahoma town.

The Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management said 20 to 50 people were injured by the tornado that hit Lone Grove late Tuesday evening. Amber Wilson, the emergency management director for nearby Ardmore, said damage was extensive in Lone Grove. The town of about 4,600 people is about 100 miles south of Oklahoma City.

National Weather Service meteorologist Rick Smith said tornadoes are most numerous in Oklahoma in the spring, but can occur at any time. The threat for twisters even extended into early Wednesday, with the weather service issuing a new tornado watch for southeastern Oklahoma and adjacent northeast Texas.