Battered Oklahoma hit by more tornadoes

Weather forecasters declared a emergency for parts of the tornado-prone midwestern state, amid reports that several twisters had struck the area around Oklahoma City.

One large tornado touched down west of Oklahoma City, the state's biggest city, news reports said, but no injuries were immediately reported.

Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin said late Friday that she was "heartsick" that Moore, struck by a powerful tornado on May 20, could be hit once again.

"I'm very concerned right now," Fallin told CNN.

"I'm here across from the capitol and it is hailing and blowing and raining extremely hard. Our tornado sirens have gone off several times," she said.


Direct line
Fallin said she was particularly worried about high traffic on the midwestern state's major highways, which could be in the direct line of the tornado.

"We hope this storm passes through and it's just some rain and hail. But we do know the winds are whipped up pretty good and it's just a loud rumble outside. It was hailing just loud from all the thunder and lightning," she told CNN.

News reports said multiple vehicles were overturned, including tractor trailer trucks. The Oklahoma Highway Patrol announced online that one main thoroughfare, Interstate 40, has been shut down due to the threat.

KFOR television meanwhile reported extensive damage around the cities of El Reno and Yukon, with 22 000 customers without power.

The eye of one strong funnel cloud – nearly 1.6km wide – was barreling toward downtown Oklahoma City to the south, according to KFOR.

The National Weather Service issued a tornado emergency for the city and some of its suburbs, hinting at the potential for casualties and large-scale damage.

Violent tornadoes
Officials for Oklahoma City's Will Rogers World Airport said on Twitter that passengers had been evacuated to an underground tunnel.

"No flights are arriving," it added. "Please do not come to airport to pick-up until threat has passed."

The National Weather Service's Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma issued a forecast for "a few strong to violent tornadoes, very large hail and intense damaging winds over parts of the Southern Plains to the Ozark Plateau."

Forecasters said the hail could be larger than the size of a baseball, with wind gusts greater than 60 miles per hour.

The Moore tornado affected a total of 33 000 people, and had winds above 200 miles per hour.

With an average of 1 200 tornadoes per year, the United States is the most hurricane-prone country in the world. They are particularly prominent in the Great Plains states of Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas, as well as in Florida.

Southeastern Kansas, southwestern Missouri and central to northeastern Oklahoma were most likely to bear the brunt of the storm, according to the National Weather Service.

Severe storms were also forecast to strike across the upper to middle Mississippi Valley and the Midwest. – Sapa-AFP

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Sapa Afp
Guest Author

Related stories

Advertising

Subscribers only

How smuggled gold destined for Dubai or Singapore has links...

Three Malagasy citizens were apprehended at OR Tambo International airport, but now the trail is found to connect to France and Mali

How lottery execs received dubious payments through a private company

The National Lottery Commission is being investigated by the SIU for alleged corruption and maladministration, including suspicious payments made to senior NLC employees between 2016 and 2017

More top stories

Spy boss tells how agency was used to detain Zuma’s...

Day two of State Security Agency testimony at the Zondo commission birthed more revelations that point to the former head of state and agents breaking the law

Covid-19 economic crisis will be felt by the poor for...

The pandemic’s economic fallout will affect the world’s poor for years, while the richest billionaires increase their wealth, an Oxfam report notes

VBS case delays cause massive frustration

A certificate is needed from the head of the NPA for more arrests to be made

Ramaphosa warns rich countries against vaccine nationalism

During his address at the World Economic Forum’s Davos Dialogues on Tuesday, the president implored countries hoarding vaccines to release their excess doses
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…