Daily Dispatches
Residents in Union City, Okla., retrieve belonging from a home destroyed by a tornado.
Associated Press/Photo by Nick Oxford
Residents in Union City, Okla., retrieve belonging from a home destroyed by a tornado.

Officials begin to assess damage in Oklahoma

Weather

UPDATE (12:25 p.m.): Officials now report that nine people have died and more than six dozen people injured in last night's storms in and around Oklahoma City.

UPDATE (7:15 a.m.): Five people have been reported killed, including a mother and a baby found in a vehicle, in the second major storm to hit the Oklahoma City area in the past two weeks.

Amy Elliott, a spokeswoman for the state medical examiner, said early Saturday that she had no immediate word of additional fatalities. About 50 people were hurt, five critically, hospital officials said.

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This morning, law enforcement officers and Red Cross damage assessment workers planned to go to areas hit by what the National Weather Service reported were “several” tornadoes that rolled in from the prairie.

Severe weather also moved through the St. Louis area, ripping part of the roof off a suburban casino.

UPDATE (Friday, May 31, 10:10 p.m.): Tornadoes that slammed Oklahoma City and its suburbs Friday killed a mother and baby while crumbling cars and tractor-trailers along Interstate 40.

Oklahoma Highway Patrol Trooper Betsy Randolph said troopers found the bodies of a woman and an infant near their vehicle.

Emergency officials reported numerous injuries were reported in the area along I-40, and Randolph said there were toppled and wrecked cars littering the area. Troopers requested a number of ambulances at I-40 near Yukon, west of Oklahoma City.

Tornado warnings were also posted Friday night near Tulsa and near St. Louis.

OUR EARLIER REPORT (Friday, May 31, 8:44 p.m): A dangerous and violent storm formed west of Oklahoma City late this afternoon, with a tornado touching down in a suburb and heading toward the state capital.

Storm chasers armed with video cameras transmitted images showing several funnel clouds that dropped from a supercell thunderstorm as it passed south of El Reno and toward downtown Oklahoma City. Police urged motorists to leave the crosstown Interstate 40 and seek a safe place.

Damage was reported in Canadian County, west of the city, and television cameras showed debris falling from the sky and power transformers being knocked out by high winds.

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol said a number of motorists were injured and that a few were missing. Numerous vehicles were damaged, leaving motorists stranded on the sides of roads, Trooper Betsy Randolph said.

The Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla., had forecasted a violent evening for the area from the Texas border to near Joplin, Mo. Forecasters warned of a "particularly dangerous situation," with strong tornadoes and hail the size of grapefruits: 4 inches in diameter.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Mickey McLean
Mickey McLean

Mickey is executive editor of WORLD Digital. He lives in North Carolina with his wife, teenage daughter, and a dog/administrative assistant named Daisy.

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