At least three dead as central Oklahoma is hit by storms and tornadoes

Strong storms including tornadoes, winds and hail moved through parts of the central US, killing at least three people, causing injuries, destroying homes and leaving thousands without power.

The National Weather Service began issuing tornado and severe thunderstorm warnings on 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 on Wednesday night.

Two deaths were in the small town of Cole, 25 miles south of Oklahoma City, and a third person who was injured by the tornado has died, but it was not clear where the person was injured, said deputy sheriff Scott Gibbons, of McClain County, Oklahoma.

Severe Weather
Cole, Oklahoma, was particularly badly affected by the storms (KOCO-TV via AP)

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

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.

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

– Advertisement –
– Advertisement –