At least three people were killed in Oklahoma when strong storms, including tornadoes, ripped over the Central United States late Wednesday, causing major damage, officials said.
The deaths occurred in Cole, Okla., State Sen. Jessica Garvin told the Oklahoman after visiting the town of about 600 people Wednesday night.
“It was extremely dark, but even at night I could see the scope of the devastation was shocking,” Garvin said Thursday. “I’d ask for all Oklahomans to please pray for those impacted throughout the state, especially for the families of those who were killed, those injured in the storm, and those who have been displaced.”
“A good portion” of Cole, located 30 miles south of Oklahoma City, was affected by the wicked weather, McClain County Deputy Sheriff Scott Gibbons said Thursday on NBC’s “Today” show.
“With Oklahoma we’re used to tornadoes to some degree, but each time we experience this, it never gets easier,” Gibbons explained.
An airport in nearby Shawnee, Okla., also sustained damage, as did the city’s Oklahoma Baptist University.
“We do not have [the exact] number of homes or businesses damaged, but we do know that significant damage occurred,” stated an Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management official.
More than more than 23,000 households lost electricity at one point in Oklahoma, where power lines and trees went down during the storm. Kansas and Iowa also went under weather-related warnings Wednesday night.
More severe weather is expected Thursday night. The National Weather Service has warned about huge hail, severe wind, and tornadoes across Oklahoma, Texas, Iowa, Missouri, and Nebraska.
Wednesday’s storms are the latest catastrophic weather in the U.S. this spring. More than 20 people died in March from a tornado in Mississippi, and more than 30 people were killed in early April from storms between Arkansas and Delaware. Five more people died from a tornado in Missouri this month.
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