First, the Siren. Then the Calm. Then Came the Twister

At least 2 killed as tornado roars through Okla. town, leveling mobile home park, motel
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 26, 2019 8:00 AM CDT
First, the Siren. Then the Calm. Then Came the Twister
Emergency workers search through debris from a mobile home park, Sunday, May 26, 2019, in El Reno, Ok., following a likely tornado touchdown late Saturday night.   (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

A likely tornado killed at least two people as it destroyed a motel, roared through a mobile home park and caused significant damage in the Oklahoma City area, officials said Sunday. El Reno Mayor Matt White said that "there have been two fatalities at this point in time," adding that officials are working to notify relatives. National Weather Service meteorologist Rick Smith told the AP that the twister hit El Reno on Saturday night as a powerful storm system rolled through the state. Crews were due on the scene Sunday to determine damage. The American Budget Value Inn was destroyed. Images showed emergency crews sifting through rubble after part of the motel's second story collapsed into a pile of debris strewn about the first floor and parking lot. Elsewhere, overturned cars and twisted metal could be seen as intermittent lightning flashed across the sky.

Trailers at the Skyview Estates mobile home park adjacent to the motel also were damaged, as was part of a nearby car dealership. "We have absolutely experienced a traumatic event," White said Sunday. 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," White said. Saturday night's storm in El Reno comes after a week of tornados, severe rain, and flooding in the Southern Plains and Midwest, including a tornado that hit Jefferson City, Mo. The region's most recent spate of bad weather and flooding has been blamed for at least nine deaths. One resident said he was not alarmed by the warning sirens at first. "We hear them all the time here, so it didn't seem like a big deal ... I heard a lot of rain with the wind. But when it kinda got calm all of a sudden, that's when it didn't feel right."

(More tornado stories.)

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