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    Apparent tornado leaves destruction, injures 30 in Okla.

    Debris from a storm covered a street in Tulsa, Okla., Sunday. About 30people were injured in what was described as an apparent tornado.
    Tom Gilbert/Tulsa World via Associated Press
    Debris from a storm covered a street in Tulsa, Okla., Sunday. About 30people were injured in what was described as an apparent tornado.

    OKLAHOMA CITY — An apparent tornado near midtown Tulsa early Sunday injured about 30 people, knocked out power to thousands of customers, heavily damaged businesses, and blew debris through the streets.

    No deaths were reported after the storm that struck shortly after 1 a.m., according to city of Tulsa spokeswoman Kim Meloy. Three of the injured people were hospitalized.

    Emergency Medical Services Authority spokeswoman Kelli Bruer said ambulances took a total of 13 people to area hospitals, and others were taken in private cars.

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    The timing of the storm was fortunate, according to city of Tulsa spokeswoman Kim Meloy, because hundreds, if not thousands of people were in the area only hours earlier.

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    ‘‘It’s a highly commercial area with a lot of people normally in there. There’s a mall, there’s a movie theater, a TGI Fridays,’’ Meloy said. The area also includes some industrial sites.

    The estimated one-square-mile area remained blocked off Sunday morning while crews worked to remove the debris, Meloy said.

    Some of the damaged power poles leaned precariously over roadways, with power lines dangling to the ground, and forced the closing of Interstate 244 for about two hours.

    National Weather Service meteorologist Amy Jankowski said preliminary reports indicate a tornado, but it could be Monday before surveyors complete their investigation and there is no preliminary estimate of the storm’s strength.

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    Tornadoes are generally associated with spring months, but Jankowski said they can occur any time.

    ‘‘I wouldn’t say outrageously rare, but it is uncommon,’’ to see an August tornado, Jankowski said.

    Associated Press