As storms and tornadoes rip through the region, destroying houses and infrastructure, at least two people have died in the central United States.
On Wednesday, the National Weather Service (NWS) started issuing severe storm and tornado warnings. Through Thursday, further storms are likely, and when search and rescue operations get underway, the death toll is anticipated to grow.
On the Today Show on the NBC television network, deputy sheriff for McClain County in Oklahoma Scott Gibbons remarked of the prospect of additional fatalities: “It is reasonable to expect possibly more based on the damage that we’ve seen.”
Both deaths occurred in McClain County, where the storms left a path of devastation in central states like Oklahoma, Kansas, and Iowa.
7:46am CDT #SPC Day1 Outlook Slight Risk: this afternoon into tonight from northern IL to MO/AR and central/east TX https://t.co/TgJgC6cQZw pic.twitter.com/sA5lgWKHMS— NWS Storm Prediction Center (@NWSSPC) April 20, 2023
The county’s emergency services reported that some persons have been admitted to hospitals with storm-related injuries and that they are assisting people who are stuck in their homes. Unknown at this time is how many people were hurt.
According to the website PowerOutage.us, as of Thursday morning, more than 16,000 individuals in Oklahoma were without electricity. From 23,000 at the height of the severe weather, this number is now lower.
This spring, storms that produced tornadoes in the US South, Midwest, and Southeast killed dozens of people, disrupted electricity, and damaged buildings and power lines.
Over the previous few months, severe weather has also affected other parts of the country, with powerful hurricanes hitting into states like Florida, western states suffering with significant floods and excessive rainfall, and northern states being hammered by powerful winter storms.
In Alabama and Mississippi during the end of March, tornadoes claimed the lives of 26 people. 32 people were killed by a series of tornadoes in early April in states like Indiana, Illinois, and Arkansas. Five people were killed by a tornado in Missouri a few days later.
According to the NWS Storm Prediction Centre, tornado-producing storms are anticipated on Thursday night from Texas to Wisconsin.
The centre predicted “a mix of supercells and storm clusters.”