The death toll from a series of tornadoes and violent storms that swept across the Midwest Friday rose to at least nine Saturday, with dozens reported injured as officials continued to assess damage.
The Friday night storms battered a region still recovering from the deadly tornado that killed two dozen people in Moore, Okla., on May 20, leveling suburban neighborhoods.
Perhaps as a result, many Oklahoma City commuters who heard tornado sirens late Friday headed for safety and found themselves trapped on local highways as tornadoes loomed. At least five tornadoes struck the area, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Mark Wiley at the regional headquarters in Fort Worth, Texas.
Among the nine dead were seven adults and two children, including a mother and a baby, according to Amy Elliott, a spokeswoman for the state medical examiner. Elliott said most of the fatalities were in western suburbs of Oklahoma City including Union City, Yukon and El Reno, where a tornado touched down late Friday.
At least 75 people were hurt, according to Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management spokeswoman Keli Cain.
More than 98,000 people in the capital were still without power Saturday.
“There’s been pretty much nonstop weather of some kind for the past two weeks, so that’s definitely impacted the recovery efforts” in Moore, Cain said.
Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma City closed and evacuated the terminal ahead of the storms as a tornado passed by. It reopened at 3 a.m. and many flights resumed Saturday, said airport spokeswoman Karen Carney, among those forced to take shelter and wait out the storms.
Los Angeles Times