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Tornadoes kill at least two in central US

Tornado wrapped in rain in the lap of Oklahoma

This screen grab from a social media video shows a typical scene during a rain-wrapped tornado in Oklahoma on April 19, 2023.

Hans Duran via Reuters

Strong storms including tornadoes, winds and hail swept through parts of the central United States on Wednesday, killing at least two people, injuring them, destroying homes and leaving thousands without power.

The National Weather Service began issuing tornado and severe thunderstorm warnings for Oklahoma, Kansas and Iowa Wednesday evening, with forecasters warning people to seek shelter.

Central Oklahoma has seen multiple tornadoes, including one that tore through the Cole and Shawnee communities Wednesday night.

Authorities said at least two people were killed in Cole, a small town in McClain County about 25 miles south of Oklahoma City, and some needed hospitalization, ranging from cuts and bruises, although the number was not immediately clear because hundreds of people. People are excited about the search operation.

A McClain County sheriff’s deputy told CBS Oklahoma City affiliate KWTV that, based on the damage he was seeing in Cole and the surrounding area, it was reasonable to expect more casualties.

But the station noted that a 90-year-old grandmother made it through a twister that hit her home in Shawnee.

A KWTV helicopter lost its windshield after being hit by a tornado. Warning: The language used by the pilot is salty:

ūüö®#UPDATE @NEWS9 helicopter had its window blown out by golf ball to baseball sized hail while covering a large tornado.

‚ÄĒ RAWSALERTS (@rawsalerts) April 20, 2023

It apparently managed to land.

Power lines were also downed, trees uprooted and houses and other buildings badly damaged or destroyed. Oklahoma Baptist University in Shawnee and an airport were damaged before the tornado moved and weakened. The school has canceled classes on Thursday and Friday.

At the peak of the severe weather, more than 23,000 customers were without power across Oklahoma, according to poweroutages.us. The number was around 20,000 on Thursday morning.

oklahoma-hail-041923.jpg

A person holds a hailstone in Yukon, Oklahoma on April 19, 2023 in this photo obtained from social media.

Brent Wilcox via Reuters

KFOR-TV reported that residents south of Oklahoma City reported being trapped in their shelters underground, mailboxes blown up, and emergency workers used GPS to locate addresses, according to the McClain County Sheriff.

Two men in Cole escaped the storm in a manhole and were not injured, KFOR reported.

Storms this spring spawned tornadoes in the South, Midwest and Northeast, killing dozens of people.

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