Updated May 26, 2019 - Science

Tornado hits El Reno, Oklahoma: Fatalities, damage reported

A rescue worker takes photos of the American Value Budget Inn May 26, 2019 in El Reno, Oklahoma.

A rescue worker at the American Value Budget Inn in El Reno, Oklahoma. Photo: J. Pat Carter/Getty Images

Another apparent tornado ripped through a suburb of Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Sunday morning, not long after an EF-3 tornado killed 2 people and injured 29 more in El Reno as severe weather continues to devastate much of the southern Plains, AP reports.

What's new: The apparent tornado tore down trees and power lines and damaged a few small businesses. There were no reports of fatalities or serious injuries from that storm, but many were still without power in the evening, according to the Sapulpa Police Department's Facebook page. Severe storms and flooding remain a concern across the southern Plains this long weekend.

Details: El Reno Mayor Matt White told a news conference early Sunday that several people had been transported to hospitals in Oklahoma City and authorities had launched a search and rescue operation. "We have absolutely experienced a traumatic event," he said.

  • El Reno Police Department said they responded to damage to the Highway 66 and 81 area after the tornado struck after 10 pm CST. Affected sections of the roads were closed for hours.
  • First responders worked to free 34 people from a damaged hotel, the American Budget Value Inn, according to KFOR-TV.
  • The National Weather Service said the tornado was on the ground for about 4 minutes.
  • The White House said hours before the tornado struck Saturday President Trump had approved an emergency declaration for Oklahoma in response to flooding that damaged more than 1,000 homes.
  • A City of El Reno fundraising page for families affected by the tornado had raised almost $33,000 by 8 pm CST.
"Very dangerous situation tonight in El Reno. Severe damage with serious injuries and fatalities involved. ... This is an unfortunate example of just how quickly these types of storms can develop from a simple thunderstorm into a deadly supercell tornado."
— Facebook statement, Union City Police Department chief Richard Stephens

The big picture: Tornado and flood watches continue for portions of the southern Plains after an intense week of severe weather across the region. From Monday to Thursday, 104 tornadoes were reported in 8 states, per ABC News: Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, Maryland, Illinois and Missouri — where 3 people died in a "violent tornado" in Jefferson City on Wednesday.

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