Thursday 17 October 2019

Two die as tornado lays waste to small town

Destroyed: Gwen McGeorge looks at the hole in the roof of her home in Jefferson City, Missouri. Photo: Reuters
Destroyed: Gwen McGeorge looks at the hole in the roof of her home in Jefferson City, Missouri. Photo: Reuters

Tim Talley

At least two people have died and dozens were injured after a tornado destroyed a hotel and a nearby mobile home park in Oklahoma.

The twister touched down in El Reno, about 40km west of Oklahoma City.

It hit the American Budget Value Inn before ripping through the Skyview Estates trailer park, flipping and levelling homes, according to mayor Matt White.

"It's a tragic scene out there," Mr White said. "People have absolutely lost everything."

The two people who were killed were in the mobile home park, Mr White said.

Everyone at the hotel was accounted for, but searchers were still going through the mobile home park looking for casualties.

Some 29 people were injured. They were taken to hospital, where some were undergoing surgery, the mayor said. Some of the injuries were critical.

National Weather Service meteorologist Rick Smith said the twister hit El Reno on Saturday night as a powerful storm system rolled through the state.

Experts are trying to determine the severity of the damage to the town.

Emergency crews were forced to sift through rubble after part of the hotel's second storey collapsed into a pile of debris strewn about the first floor and car park.

The storm in El Reno comes after a week of tornadoes, severe rain and flooding in the Southern Plains and Midwest, including a tornado that destroyed homes in Jefferson City, Missouri.

The region's most recent spate of bad weather and flooding has been blamed for at least nine deaths.

Irish Independent

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