2 Dead as Tornadoes Strike Central US

Severe weather also includes winds, hail
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 20, 2023 2:00 AM CDT
2 Killed as Tornadoes Strike Central US
In this image taken from video, emergency vehicles make their way past damaged buildings after a tornado swept through the area, in Cole, Okla., Wednesday night, April 19, 2023.   (KOCO-TV via AP)

Strong storms including tornadoes, winds, and hail moved through parts of the Central US on Wednesday, killing at least two people, causing injuries, destroying homes and leaving thousands without power, the AP reports. The National Weather Service began issuing tornado and severe thunderstorm warnings Wednesday evening in Oklahoma, Kansas, and Iowa with forecasters warning people to find shelter. Central Oklahoma saw multiple tornadoes, including one that raced through the communities of Shawnee and Cole Wednesday night.

Authorities said at least two people were killed in the small town of Cole in McClain County and there also were injuries ranging from cuts and bruises to some requiring hospitalization, although the numbers weren't immediately clear as hundreds of people fanned out in search operations. Power lines also were torn down, trees toppled and homes and other buildings badly damaged or destroyed. Oklahoma Baptist University in Shawnee and an airport received damage before the tornado moved off and weakened.

At the peak of the severe weather, more than 23,000 customers were without electricity throughout Oklahoma, according to poweroutage.us. KFOR-TV reported that residents south of Oklahoma City reported being trapped in their shelters underground, mailboxes were blown away and emergency crews used GPS to find addresses, according to the McClain County sheriff. Two people in the town of Cole rode out the storm in a manhole and were not hurt, the television station reported.

(Read more tornado stories.)

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