Powerful Tornado Strikes Uruguay, Killing 4 and Injuring Hundreds

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A deadly tornado tore through the small city of Dolores in southwestern Uruguay on Friday, killing four.

The tornado swept through the city of 20,000, throwing cars and ripping up houses, the Associated Press reports.

200 have been injured and dozens of homes have been destroyed, Tiempo.com reports.

A spokesman from the president’s office, Juan Andres Roballo, said in a statement that two children were being transported to the capital for treatment for life-threatening injuries, the Latin American Herald Tribune reports.

Fire department spokeswoman Mariela Vivone told Channel 12 that two of the dead were killed by flying cars carried by high winds.

“There are businesses in the center of the city, completely destroyed,” Uruguayan senator Guillermo Besozzi told CNN. “Schools, churches destroyed. This is something never seen before. This is something out of the normal for our country.”

Difficulties with telephone and health services, as well as power outages have left the city overwhelmed and in chaos, according to La Nacion.

Compared to the United States, Uruguay sees relatively few tornadoes.

According to The Weather Channel severe weather expert, Dr. Greg Forbes, Uruguay averages one tornado per 10,000 square miles every five years. One Uruguay tornado in April 1970 was of F4 intensity, according to Forbes.

“At first glance, you may have thought this was a tornado from the U.S.,” weather.com senior meteorologist Jonathan Erdman said. “This stovepipe tornado actually had multiple suction vortices, likely responsible for pockets of more intense damage.”

Dolores, which is about 160 miles west of the country’s capital of Montevideo, was declared an emergency zone as the government sent out assistance.

“The president has ordered the deployment of all the resources in the state to attend to the situation in Dolores,” Roballo said.

Apr 16 2016 11:45 AM EDT

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Kyrie Wagner

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