At least 5 people, including infant, dead after night of tornadoes, storms in the Midwest (2024)

Dawn broke over scenes of devastation in several counties across Oklahoma on Sunday, with reports of severe structural damage, closed highways, blackouts, injuries and at least five deaths. There have been 35 reports of tornadoes overnight so far.

Twenty-seven million people remained at risk of severe weather into Sunday, including wind gusts, hail, flood risk and potentially more tornadoes.

Saturday's severe weather came less than 36 hours after more than 100 tornadoes leveled homes and buildings in six states Friday, with Nebraska and Iowa being hit hardest, officials said.

The National Weather Service office in Norman, Oklahoma, confirmed late Saturday that multiple tornadoes were in its area, including one near Davenport and more than one in the area of Sulphur, a small town of about 5,000 people 80 miles south of Oklahoma City, which appeared to have taken the biggest hit.

On Sunday, the weather service's Norman office said that, based on preliminary damage survey results, tornadoes with ratings of at least EF3 tore through Sulphur and Marietta in Oklahoma. The service said more investigation would be necessary to determine whether the rating will go higher.

The Murray County Emergency Management reported “significant damage” in Sulphur. In Love County, patients had to shelter during storms that damaged Marietta Hospital, though no injuries were reported, the county emergency management office said.

Also in Marietta, four semitrucks overturned, killing one person, after a tornado ripped through Interstate 35 on Saturday night, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol said.

Oklahoma’s Office of Emergency Management confirmed three deaths, one near Marietta on I-35 and two others in Holdenville. Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt arrived Sunday afternoon in Sulphur, where he said a fourth person died in the downtown area.

One of the Holdenville victims was 4 months old, Stitt's press secretary said, citing Holdenville officials.

More than 170 storms were reported Saturday after days of severe weather. Storms were still expected through southern Missouri to southeast Texas on Sunday.

At least 5 people, including infant, dead after night of tornadoes, storms in the Midwest (1)

Flash flooding is also a concern for 18 million people from Kansas City to Lake Charles, Louisiana. Some flood warnings will continue into Monday.Video emerging on social media early Sunday showed heavy damage across Sulphur, including toppled trees and scattered bricks and wooden beams. Buildings in the downtown area sustained significant structural damage, including blown-out windows and missing walls. Others appeared to have been leveled and reduced to rubble.

The Oklahoma Health Department reported 100 injuries at area hospitals, according to the state Emergency Management Department. Of the injured, 25 were cut or had been pierced, 30 fell, 16 were hit by or struck against objects, 17 sustained transportation-related injuries, and 12 others were hurt by other means, the emergency services department said. The extent of each of the injuries was unclear.

Red Cross Oklahoma said early Sunday that it was opening a shelter in Sulphur and was in contact with officials in more than a dozen counties to help with the immediate needs of affected residents.

Stitt signed an executive order Sunday declaring a disaster emergency.

In neighboring Hughes County, officials reported four people injured, as well as several structures either damaged or destroyed, after a tornado ripped through its western part late Saturday.

On Sunday, Hughes County Emergency Management reported 14 homes were damaged or destroyed in Holdenville. In addition, officials said four properties were damaged in Okfuskee County, and Pottawatomie County Emergency Managementreported seven damaged structures in Dale and unincorporated areas of Shawnee.

There were also "numerous injuries" and damaged structures in Wagoner County, officials said.

Homes and other structures were also damaged in communities in Garfield, Grant, Kay, Payne and several other counties in Oklahoma, officials said.

The National Weather Service in Norman said that as of 1:25 a.m. local time Sunday, some tornado warnings had passed but that flash flooding remained a threat.

Bruce Thoren, meteorologist for the agency's Norman branch, said teams will go out to the Marietta and Sulphur areas while others may be sent elsewhere through the week.

At least 5 people, including infant, dead after night of tornadoes, storms in the Midwest (2)

"We are aware of other places that received damage, but based on travel time and other factors they will be looked at in days to come, probably not today," Thoren said. "The area that we cover is pretty large compared to other forecast offices, so to travel down and back could be up to four hours. So we’ll for sure get there, and we know there’s damage — just trying to figure out where we go today."Oklahoma Gas and Electric Co. said early Sunday about 28,000 customers were without service as a result of the storms, primarily in southern Oklahoma.

The Oklahoma Transportation Department warned early Sunday that I-35 was closed in both directions in Love County because of storm damage cleanup.

More than 30 million people in Oklahoma City; Dallas; Wichita, Kansas; Omaha, Nebraska; Milwaukee; and Madison, Wisconsin, were in the path of severe weather Saturday.

This round of severe weather arrived even as parts of Nebraska and Iowa were still reeling from the damage caused by two tornadoes that struck the region.

Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert said Saturday that no deaths had been reported and that there were relatively few minor injuries.

Despite heavy damage to some residents' homes, including those belonging to three Omaha firefighters and two police commanders, officials Saturday were grateful it wasn't worse.Speaking at an afternoon news conference, Stothert said she planned to sign an emergency declaration, which would allow residents to tap state and federal recovery aid.

She credited the National Weather Service and local news media for warning the public about the tornadoes.

"I do want to thank our local forecasters for the clear and accurate warnings that they gave," she said. "I absolutely feel that this early warning, because of all of you, you prevented a lot of injury and probably death."

Lindsay Huse, health director for Douglas County, where Omaha is located, said by email that fewer than two dozen people suffered minor injuries. They were treated at medical facilities and have been released, she said.

"That's just miraculous," Huse said earlier at the news conference.

At least 5 people, including infant, dead after night of tornadoes, storms in the Midwest (3)

The National Weather Service assessed two tornadoes that struck the Omaha area Friday afternoon. One started in the area of Lincoln and ended up in western Douglas County, NWS meteorologist Chris Franks said at the news conference.It was preliminarily assessed at a "solid" EF3 on the 0-5 scale used by federal forecasters, he said. An EF3 tornado can produce sustained winds of 136-165 mph and shift homes off their foundations while peeling away exterior walls.

At Omaha Eppley Airfield, a tornado preliminarily assessed at EF2 struck Friday afternoon, Franks said. An EF2 tornado can produce sustained winds of 111-135 mph that can partly peel away rooftops and breach window glass.

Tornado activity was also reported in neighboring Iowa. Franks estimated that 80 tornadoes were reported in Douglas County and adjacent communities in Nebraska and Iowa on Friday.

In Lancaster County, Nebraska, a tornado was blamed for a train derailment and a semitruck rollover, according to National Weather Service notes on Friday's vortexes.

Omaha Police Lt. Neal Bonacci said hundreds of homes were damaged, most of them in the Elkhorn area in the western part of the city.

“You definitely see the path of the tornado,” Bonacci said.

Police and firefighters went door to door to help residents and search areas where people could be trapped, Omaha Fire Chief Kathy Bossman said.

"We’ll be looking throughout properties in debris piles, we’ll be looking in basem*nts, trying to find any victims and make sure everybody is rescued who needs assistance," Bossman said.

Pat Woods, who lives in Elkhorn, told The Associated Press that he and his wife took shelter but could hear the tornado "coming through."

"When we came up, our fence was gone, and we looked to the northwest and the whole neighborhood’s gone," he said.

His wife, Kim Woods, said the neighborhood to the north of them was "pretty flattened."

At least 5 people, including infant, dead after night of tornadoes, storms in the Midwest (4)

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds declared a disaster emergency for Pottawattamie County after video on social media showed parts of Minden, about 30 miles northeast of Omaha, completely flattened.Jeff Theulen, the chief deputy of the Pottawattamie County Sheriff’s Office, said at a news conference Friday evening that 40 or 50 homes were "completely destroyed." There have been two reports of injuries, one "fairly severe but not life-threatening," he told reporters.

By Sunday, officials estimated that the storms had damaged 300 homes and businesses in the county, Pottawattamie County said in a release. In the city of Minden, 48 homes were "completely destroyed."

Pottawattamie County added in the release that four people sustained storm-related injuries. Three were treated and released Friday evening. The fourth, who was previously listed as stable in critical condition, died overnight Saturday.

"It's very dangerous right now. We've shut off entrance to the city except for the people that live here," he said, noting that "50% of the town is damaged badly and then there’s light damage everywhere else."

In nearby Shelby County, about 40 homes were damaged, county emergency coordinator Alex Londo said. Officials were assessing the destruction, he said, noting there have been no reports of deaths.

National Weather Service offices surveyed damage ahead of more severe weather expected Saturday.

At least 5 people, including infant, dead after night of tornadoes, storms in the Midwest (5)

The service reported 106 tornadoes Friday in Nebraska, Iowa, Texas, Kansas and Missouri. Another tornado was reported Friday morning in Pottawatomie County, Oklahoma.Oklahoma was also affected by the unstable air and thunderstorms that marched eastward Friday, but the weather service listed no confirmed tornadoes in the state.

Among Friday's tornadoes getting a preliminary assessment by the weather service were two near Waco, Texas — one believed to be at EF2 strength — and the other assessed at EF1 (86-110 mph).

Minyvonne Burke

Minyvonne Burkeis a senior breaking news reporter for NBC News.

Kathryn Prociv

Kathryn Prociv is a senior meteorologist and producer for NBC News.

Christine Rapp

Christine Rapp is a meteorologist for NBC News.

Dennis Romero

Dennis Romero is a breaking news reporter for NBC News Digital.

Yuliya Talmazan

Yuliya Talmazan is a reporter for NBC News Digital, based in London.

Rebecca Cohen

Rebecca Cohen is a breaking news reporter for NBC News.

The Associated Press


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At least 5 people, including infant, dead after night of tornadoes, storms in the Midwest (2024)
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