Thursday 14 November 2019

Oklahoma battered as tornado season begins

First responders work to free a man from a pile of rubble after a round of severe weather hit a trailer park near 145th West Avenue and West 17th Street in Sand Springs, Oklahoma. (AP Photo/Tulsa World, Matt Barnard)
First responders work to free a man from a pile of rubble after a round of severe weather hit a trailer park near 145th West Avenue and West 17th Street in Sand Springs, Oklahoma. (AP Photo/Tulsa World, Matt Barnard)
Lightning flashes as a utility crew works on a power line on East 15th Street just west of Sheridan, Oklahoma. (AP Photo/Tulsa World, Mike Simons)
First responders work to free a man from a rubble pile after a round of severe weather hit a trailer park near 145th West Avenue and West 17th Street in Sand Springs, Oklahoma. (AP Photo/Tulsa World, Matt Barnard )
A Tornado is seen in Keystone Lake, Oklahoma
Debris litters the area after a storm swept through the area and damaged homes in Sand Springs, Okla. The slow start to the nation's tornado season came to a blustery end Wednesday when tornadoes hit Arkansas and Oklahoma.
People survey storm damage in Sand Springs, Okla., Wednesday, March 25, 2015. The slow start to the nation's tornado season came to a blustery end Wednesday when tornadoes hit Arkansas and Oklahoma.
Lightning flashes as a utility crew works on a power line on East 15th Street just west of Sheridan, Oklahoma

The first batch of severe weather in the US tornado season has devastated an Oklahoma mobile home park, as storms across the area damaged buildings, tore off roofs and left debris strewn across roads.

Tens of thousands of Oklahoma residents were without power as officials assessed the damage.

Tulsa County Sheriff's Captain Billy McKelvey said one person was killed in the mobile home park, which he said could accommodate 40 to 50 trailers.

The Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management said it had reports of nine people taken to hospitals. Mr McKelvey said he believed at least 15 people were hurt.

Tornadoes were seen elsewhere in Oklahoma, as well as neighbouring state Arkansas.

The tornado season usually ramps up for parts of the US in March, but until Tuesday, when a waterspout formed over an Arkansas lake, the country had not had a tornado in more than a month.

Weather patterns this month funnelled cold air into much of the country, depriving the atmosphere of the warm, moist air necessary for forming bad storms for most of the month.

Joe Sellers, a National Weather Service meteorologist, said survey teams would assess the damage but that it was likely a tornado that hit Sand Springs.

Governor Mary Fallin has declared a state of emergency for the 25 Oklahoma counties that were hit hardest by the storm.

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