Oklahoma tornado: More severe storms possible today as rescue efforts continue after 3 dead

(CNN) More severe storms threaten 50 million people from Texas to Wisconsin after the same system killed at least three people in Oklahoma, with more than a dozen tornadoes reported in the three states and search and rescue operations still underway in some areas.

Two deaths and injuries in Cole, near Oklahoma City, as damage assessments continue, Deputy Scott Gibbons of the McClain County Sheriff’s Office told CNN. First responders have received reports of people trapped in shelters, and crews are systematically searching a 10-mile route, navigating roads littered with downed power lines and debris, he added.

One person who was injured in Pottawatomie County in central Oklahoma died at a hospital, Gibbons said.

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The same system that produced severe storms on Wednesday is moving eastward on Jupiter with rain, hail, damaging winds and some tornadoes. flash flood Possible. Areas from the Texas highlands to southern Illinois — including Dallas, Houston and Chicago, to Little Rock, Arkansas; Shreveport, Louisiana; And Jefferson City and Springfield, Missouri — face a Category 2 out of 5 “slight risk” of severe weather, according to the Storm Prediction Center.

Wednesday’s worst storms were reported across Oklahoma — eight tornadoes were confirmed by the National Weather Service office in Norman — while Kansas and Iowa were also hit. About 17,000 homes and businesses in Oklahoma No power Midday Thursday.

A tornado that hit Cole, a town of more than 600 people about 30 miles south of Oklahoma City, appears to be particularly significant. For resident Barry Harbison, it felt like a roller-coaster when the storm lifted his trailer off the ground — and he got stuck in it, he said.

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“I stayed in the bathroom and (the storm) took the whole trailer and moved it,” Harbison said CNN affiliate KOCO.

The National Weather Service in Norman, Oklahoma plans to monitor the Cole, Shawnee and Etowah-Pink-Stella area Thursday.

In addition to nine tornado reports in Oklahoma, four in Iowa and three in Kansas on Wednesday; Among them, two tornadoes have been confirmed in Iowa and one in Kansas.

A man walks past storm damage Thursday in Cole, Oklahoma.

‘Everybody should be alive’

A larger and more dangerous tornado swept through Shawnee, a town of about 30,000 people in Pottawatomie County, about 60 miles east of Coley. The storm was moving erratically north of the city around 10 p.m. Wednesday, the National Weather Service in Norman said.

Shawnee Public Schools canceled classes Thursday, the district announced on Facebook.

More than 30 people live there At Brookdale Senior Living, an assisted living facility in Shawnee, Oklahoma, the building was evacuated after windows were blown out and water seeping inside, Executive Director Shelley Stewart said.

“We’re blessed to have everyone alive,” Stewart told KOCOIt is noteworthy that there were no major injuries.

Stewart described the staff as “heroes” who helped get residents to bathrooms as the storm passed, and some had minor scratches.

As crews spread across the county to respond to the storms, the Pottawatomie County Emergency Management Agency warned residents not to leave their homes to survey the damage, hampering response efforts.

Robbie Bridwell surveys the damage Thursday in Oklahoma’s goal.

“There are huge pools of water in stormy areas, so please don’t drive in the water!” The The company said.

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“Our district has been hit hard and it will take some time to check every area,” the company said later.

“If you can, check on your neighbors, but be aware of possible gas leaks and downed power lines,” Shawnee police said in a Facebook post Wednesday evening.

Oklahoma Baptist University in Shawnee canceled classes Thursday and Friday, urging students to avoid being outdoors. No injuries were reported, but the complex was significantly damaged. University said.

Authorities are advising students to stay indoors overnight due to downed power lines and strewn debris. School said.

A funnel-shaped storm cloud moves over a road in Oklahoma on Wednesday.

More severe storms are expected on Thursday

The main threats for Thursday’s severe weather are large hail and strong winds — and tornadoes can’t be ruled out.

“The areas of greatest concern are eastern North Texas (including the DFW metro) and much of central Texas, although areas east of I-35 will see the highest chance for severe storms,” ​​the National Weather Service in Fort Worth said.

Heavy rains may cause flash floods in some places. Most areas will receive 1 to 3 inches of rain, with more in isolated areas.

A very broad Level 1 of 5 “marginal risk” of Thursday’s storms stretches from South Texas to the Midwest, including Memphis, Tennessee.

Strong winds, damaging hail and isolated tornadoes can be seen in these areas.

CNN’s Haley Brink, Chris Boyette, Joe Sutton, Paradise Afshar, Elizabeth Wolfe, Amanda Jackson and Taylor Ward contributed to this report.

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