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Friday, May 31, 2013

"Tornado Emergency" Issued for Oklahoma City - At Least 4 Dead

A large- multi-vortex tornado that formed southwest of El Reno near I-40 continues to move east toward Yukon and Oklahoma City.

The NWS has just issued a "tornado emergency" for Oklahoma City.

The tornado has changed direction at least twice- but missed El Reno to the south and east.

The tornado overturned numerous vehicles that were on I-40 and U.S. 81 near El Reno where there were injuries ... and fatalities.

One of those vehicles caught in the changing-direction tornado belonged to a Weather Channel crew.

The SUV called "Tornado Hunt 2013" became the prey on U.S. 81 south of El Reno- and was rolled several times from the highway into a field.

The crew which included Mike Bettes- who was the first reporter in Joplin after the 2011 tornado there- suffered only minor injuries.

Two fatalities were reported along I-40 when an SUV with a woman and an infant was tossed from the freeway into a field.

At 9:06 pm- two more fatalities- again in vehicles- was reported near Union City OK- southwest of OKC.

Live coverage found HERE on KFOR-4 in OKC.

That large tornado which appeared to be capable of at least EF-4 damage- continued east along I-40 through western and southern Yukon.

The funnel itself was mostly rain-wrapped as it entered the western part of OKC- where the tornado's intensity lessened.

Smaller tornadoes were also reported further south in- of all places- Moore.

The initial tornado storm missed the Tinker Air Force base to the south before moving near Shawnee and eastward.

On top of the tornado- many areas in and around Oklahoma City suffered from flash flooding with reports of more than 6 inches of rain in several hours.

As of 9:45 pm- more than 65000 people in and around OKC had no electricity.

By 10 pm Friday night- a state emergency management official stated the death toll had reached five- with more than 70 people injured..

On Saturday morning- the death toll had increased to nine- with several people still missing- and the injured approaching 100.

On Sunday evening- Oklahoma officials are reporting 13 people died from the tornadoes and flash flooding- with eight people still unaccounted for after taking refuge in drainage ditches that flooded.

With the discovery of a female child's body along a creek Monday afternoon- the death toll from the May 31 tornado and flash flooding in Metro Oklahoma City stood at 15- with at least five people still missing.

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