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Wednesday, May 22, 2024
Wednesday May 22, 2024
Wednesday May 22, 2024

Devastating tornado outbreak hits Oklahoma, four fatalities reported

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Severe weather continues to threaten areas from Missouri to Texas, with communities bracing for more tornadoes and storm damage

At least four people, including an infant, lost their lives in a catastrophic tornado outbreak that struck Oklahoma overnight. The severe weather system threatens further damage with tornadoes, heavy rain, and large hail expected to impact regions from Missouri to Texas. Authorities have confirmed the occurrence of multiple large and extremely dangerous tornadoes during the harrowing event.

Governor Kevin Stitt announced the deaths and highlighted the significant damage in the town of Sulphur, where the storms wreaked havoc, impacting businesses and residential areas alike. “Every business downtown has been destroyed here in Sulphur,” Stitt reported at a news conference. The Governor also declared an emergency disaster to manage the crisis effectively.

The National Weather Service has confirmed 22 tornadoes in the area, with some reaching EF-3 strength, indicating wind speeds of at least 136 mph. These powerful storms have caused widespread destruction and have left several communities in dire need of assistance and rebuilding.

The impact of the tornadoes was not limited to Oklahoma. Neighbouring states, including Texas, have also experienced severe weather conditions with the Storm Prediction Center issuing tornado watches across multiple regions. Over 47 million people remain at risk as the storm system moves northeast, potentially affecting areas up to the upper Mississippi River Valley.

Local authorities and emergency services are stretched thin as they continue to respond to reports of injuries and damage. The widespread nature of this event has prompted a significant emergency response, including the activation of Oklahoma’s emergency operations centre and numerous weather warnings across affected states.

In addition to the tornadoes, the storm system has brought with it heavy rainfall, which could exacerbate flooding and create life-threatening conditions, especially in areas like Trinity County, Texas, where up to ten inches of rain have already caused significant flooding.

As the community braces for more severe weather, the resilience and preparedness of the residents and authorities are being tested. The next few days will be crucial as the full extent of the damage is assessed and recovery efforts are planned

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