Tornadoes hit Oklahoma, Texas, and Arkansas late Friday, damaging houses and knocking out electricity for hundreds. Search and rescue efforts are underway.
Officials report deaths in Oklahoma and Texas. After damaging tornadoes, Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt declared an emergency in Bryan, Choctaw, LeFlore, and McCurtain Counties.
“The state is ready to deliver all the help, support, and resources southeastern Oklahoma needs to recover and rebuild.” Strong, resilient Oklahomans. Stitt claimed he’ll rebuild the homes and businesses.
Stitt inspected storm-damaged Idabel, Oklahoma, on Saturday morning. The governor termed the tornado damage “heartbreaking” in a tweet.
“I’ll proclaim a state of emergency in affected counties to provide help and resources. Stitt urged everyone to pray.
The governor recognized the victim as a 90-year-old man from Idabel. Morris County Judge Doug Reeder says a second individual was slain in Texas.
Reeder didn’t disclose information about the victim’s death but said three tornadoes damaged residences in Morris County. Morris County is in Texas-Arkansas. McCurtain County emergency manager Cody McDaniel claimed “several folks are missing”
McDaniel said late Friday that authorities were assessing damages and casualties.
Search and rescue teams, along with generators, have been sent to Idabel, where “flash flooding” has occurred. He stated the storm unified people.
“I witnessed Oklahomans uniting. They were supporting each other throughout last night’s storm. We’re cleaning limbs and debris,” Stitt remarked.
As of Friday evening, at least 50 homes were damaged or destroyed in Lamar County, Texas, near the Oklahoma border.
As of Saturday evening, more than 20,000 homes and businesses remained without power throughout Arkansas, Louisiana, southeastern Oklahoma, and eastern Texas.
Friday night, tornadoes were reported in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Missouri. In warning zones, the weather service recommends moving to a basement or inside chamber.
Nine tornadoes formed in Texas, four in Arkansas, and one in Oklahoma, according to the NWS Storm Prediction Center. Nighttime tornadoes are especially dangerous since they’re hard to notice and travel swiftly, making it difficult to warn locals.
Most Texas tornadoes occurred at the Red River border with Oklahoma, damaging two counties.
Late Friday, the National Weather Service confirmed a 45-mph tornado over Wrightsville, Arkansas, south of Little Rock.
The number of tornadoes will certainly rise Saturday, but their severity won’t be determined until local National Weather Service offices do damage surveys.
Severe thunderstorms and tornado watches remained until early Saturday. Disaster declared in Texas county.
Lamar County declared a disaster after a tornado injured 10 individuals, according to the sheriff’s office. No reported deaths.
The sheriff’s office stated two were critically hurt. A first responder was hurt in the county’s storms and had surgery Friday, the constable said.
Lamar County Constable Travis Rhodes told CNN there was damage and casualties.
Four residences were destroyed in neighboring Hopkins County, according to the sheriff’s office. A Choctaw County lady was injured by a falling tree while trying to reach a storm shelter, CNN reported. It’s uncertain if a tornado struck.
Oklahoma’s Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security encourages residents to report storm damage online.