2 dead, unknown number missing in Oklahoma tornado
From Arkansas to Nebraska, people experiencing severe weather including tornados and dust storms.
EL RENO, Okla. — A tornado destroyed a motel and killed at least two people and in the Oklahoma City suburb of El Reno overnight Saturday, according to the National Weather Service.
Meteorologist Rick Smith in Norman told The Associated Press that the suspected twister hit El Reno on Saturday night as a powerful storm system rolled through the state. Crews will arrive on the scene Sunday to determine with severity of the damage to the town just west of Oklahoma City.
The American Budget Value Inn was destroyed by the storm. Images at the scene showed emergency crews sifting through the rubble after part of the motel’s second story collapsed into a pile of debris strewn about the first floor and parking lot.
El Reno Mayor Matt White confirmed at least two fatalities from the storm and an unknown number of persons missing. The identities of the victims has not been revealed.
Trailers at a mobile home park adjacent to the motel were also damaged, as was part of a nearby car dealership.
The mayor described the scene at the mobile home park as “horrific,” and “decimated,” during a news conference.
Elsewhere, overturned cars and twisted metal could be seen briefly as intermittent lightning flashed across the sky and the wailing sirens of approaching emergency vehicles could be heard in the distance.
The deadly storm comes just days after the area was hit by widespread flooding.
“We have absolutely experienced a traumatic event,” White said during a news conference early Sunday. “We’ve had an incident where a tornado has basically hit a mobile home park and a hotel, and some other local businesses.”
White said several people were transported to hospitals in Oklahoma City, but did not give an exact number.
“We’re doing a search and rescue right now… we have all hands on deck,” he said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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