In the central United States, powerful storms with tornadoes and hail killed at least two people, injured dozens, destroyed homes, and left others without electricity.
Storms with greater intensity were expected for Thursday night.
The National Weather Service issued tornado and severe thunderstorm warnings in Oklahoma, Kansas, and Iowa on Wednesday night. Forecasters advised people to seek cover.
Tornadoes were reported in central Oklahoma, one of which tore through the towns of Shawnee and Cole.
Authorities reported at least two fatalities in the small town of Cole in McClain County, located approximately 25 miles (41 kilometers) south of Oklahoma City. There were also injuries, ranging from minor scrapes and bruises to those requiring hospitalization, though the number wasn’t immediately evident due to the widespread search efforts by hundreds of people.
McClain County Deputy Sheriff Scott Gibbons stated on NBC’s “Today Show” that it is logical to anticipate there may be more fatalities due to the damage that has already been done.
Trees fell, power lines were wrecked, and houses and other structures were severely damaged or destroyed.
Before the tornado withdrew and weakened, it damaged an airport and Oklahoma Baptist University in Shawnee.
In a statement released late on Wednesday, Benny Fulkerson, a representative for the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management, stated, “We do not have several homes or businesses damaged, but we do know that significant damage occurred.”
According to PowerOutage.us, more than 23,000 consumers were without power across Oklahoma at the height of the severe weather.
According to the McClain County sheriff, KFOR-TV reported that people south of Oklahoma City said they were stuck in their underground bunkers, mailboxes were destroyed, and rescue personnel utilized GPS to locate addresses.
According to the news station, two persons in the town of Cole weathered the storm under a maintenance hole without getting wounded.