NATIONAL NEWS

‘The damage is unbelievable:’ Tornadoes kill 3 in Oklahoma

Apr 19, 2023, 8:04 PM | Updated: Apr 20, 2023, 7:32 pm

DALLAS (AP) — Crews scrambled Thursday to restore power to thousands of residents after tornadoes plowed through Oklahoma during another deadly spring storm in the U.S., killing at least three people and damaging dozens of homes.

A day after at least eight tornadoes spun through Oklahoma, Gov. Kevin Stitt said authorities were still assessing the scale of destruction. He toured the aftermath in Shawnee, where nearly every building at Oklahoma Baptist University showed damage. A home improvement store was destroyed, but several people sheltering inside survived. Two long-term care facilities and a hospital in Shawnee were also damaged.

“The damage is unbelievable when you walk through there,” Stitt said after touring the city.

Stitt also visited the small town of Cole, where he said two people died and 50 to 100 homes were damaged. Authorities said a third person who was injured had also died, but it was not immediately clear where that person was injured.

“There are definitely dozens of various injuries, from minor all the way up to fatalities,” said Deputy Sheriff Scott Gibbons of McClain County, the county south of Oklahoma City where Cole is located.

Gibbons told television station KOCO that one victim in McClain County, where Cole is located, is a 66-year-old man.

Deadly storms this spring have killed dozens of people across a wide swath of country, including one in March that produced tornadoes left five dead in Missouri.

Employees of a pizza restaurant in Shawnee said they took shelter in the walk-in freezer, and when they emerged, parts of the roof and shattered windows littered the parking lot.

“There was a lot commotion. People were starting to get a little frantic,” said Bekah Inman, general manager of a Papa John’s Pizza in Shawnee, speaking to Oklahoma television station KOCO.

At Oklahoma Baptist University, sophomore Kennedy Houchin hid in a storm shelter with about 30 other people. When she was finally able to safely leave after about two hours, she saw the devastation the tornadoes had left on campus and elsewhere in Shawnee: downed trees, flipped cars and buildings with gaping holes.

When she ran into her volleyball teammates on campus, they embraced. “It was a good moment to see everyone and know everyone was OK,” Houchin said.

Following the storms, Stitt declared a state of emergency in five counties: Cleveland, Lincoln, McClain, Oklahoma and Pottawatomie.

At the peak of the storm, there were more than 34,000 power outages reported, but that number had dropped by Thursday evening to about 16,000, the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management and the Office of Homeland Security reported.

KFOR-TV reported that residents south of Oklahoma City said they were trapped in their underground shelters. In Cole, two people emerged unhurt after riding out the storm in a manhole, the television station reported.

—-

Miller reported from Jonesboro, Arkansas. Associated Press journalist Beatrice Dupuy in New York contributed to this report.

National News

Associated Press

Millions in the US prepare for more sweltering heat as floodwaters inundate parts of the Midwest

Millions of Americans prepared to sweat through yet another scorching day, with the potential for rolling storms later Sunday to bring relief from the sweltering heat for at least some. Floodwaters inundated parts of the Midwest, including a town in Iowa evacuated after being submerged up to the rooftops. Across the country in California, daily […]

25 minutes ago

Associated Press

Ten people are injured in a shooting in Columbus, Ohio. Police are searching for a suspect

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Police in Ohio say 10 people were injured, including one seriously, in a shooting in Columbus. The shooting occurred early Sunday in the Short North Arts District, local media said, quoting law enforcement. The Columbus Police Department said all the injured were males, eight adults and two youths who ranged in […]

3 hours ago

Associated Press

Philadelphia police officer shot by fleeing suspect is in critical condition

A Philadelphia police officer was shot in the neck and was in critical condition Saturday night, officials said. The 31-year-old officer was in critical condition and undergoing surgery at Temple University Hospital, Police Commissioner Kevin Bethel said during a news conference outside the hospital. The officer, a veteran of more than six years on the […]

12 hours ago

Associated Press

A fourth victim has died a day after a shooting at an Arkansas grocery store, police say

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Police say a fourth victim has died a day after a shooting at an Arkansas grocery store. The person died Saturday evening, Arkansas state police said in a statement. A total of 14 people were wounded in Friday’s shooting, according to police: “11 civilians, two law enforcement officers and the […]

13 hours ago

Associated Press

2 people were taken to a hospital after lightning struck a tree near a PGA Tour event in Connecticut

CROMWELL, Conn. (AP) — Two people were taken to the hospital Saturday after lightning struck a tree near a home along a golf course that is hosting the PGA Tour’s Travelers Championship. The home is just north of the fifth green at TPC River Highlands, which is hosting the tournament one week after the U.S. […]

15 hours ago

Associated Press

FBI offers reward for information about deadly southern New Mexico wildfires

RUIDOSO, N.M. (AP) — Federal authorities offered a reward for information about those responsible for igniting a pair of New Mexico wildfires that killed two people and destroyed hundreds of homes in the past week. The FBI on Saturday offered up to $10,000 for information in connection with the South Fork Fire and Salt Fire […]

21 hours ago

‘The damage is unbelievable:’ Tornadoes kill 3 in Oklahoma