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Valley Public Radio Staff
Sat June 1, 2013
New Round Of Tornadoes Kill 5 People In Oklahoma
Originally published on Sat June 1, 2013 9:29 am
Still recovering from a monster EF-5 tornado that leveled parts of the Oklahoma City suburb of Moore, the area was hit hard again Friday night. At least nine people — including a mother and child — were reported dead by Canadian County Under Sheriff Chris West in the wake of multiple violent tornadoes.
"The storm system swatted down power lines and uprooted trees, flicked big rigs on their sides, and yanked off part of the terminal roof at Oklahoma City's Will Rogers World Airport," CNN reports.
The Oklahoman reports that at least 87 people were injured:
"Multiple injuries were reported near Interstate 40 and Banner Road, where six tractor-trailers were flipped on their sides near a westbound weigh station along the interstate between Yukon and El Reno.
"Two other tractor-trailers overturned on the interstate — one blocking an eastbound lane and the other a westbound lane. Sheet metal debris littered the median."
At the height of the storm, emergency crews could not make it to the highway, because of hurricane-force winds.
KFOR-TV's Emily Sutton was in the middle of the "El Reno tornado." They were chasing the storm, when suddenly the tornado made a sharp turn and they found themselves right in the middle of it. The sky went black, the trees began to bend, the photographer saw a bird fall from the sky. Here's video of the moment:
Oklahoma City spokeswoman Kristy Yager told CNN that after the Moore tornado, the area really needed a break, but "there's just no rest."
The AP reports that unlike the EF-5 tornado in Moore, these storms came with significant rain. Oklahoma City received 7 inches of rain during the course of a few hours, leaving parts of the metro area flooded.
"Highways and streets were clogged late into the night as motorists worked their way around flooded portions of the city," the AP reported. The airport reopened early this morning, but all early morning flights were cancelled, the airport said on its Twitter feed.
Update at 12:22 p.m. ET. 9 Dead:
KGOU Kurt Gwartney tells our Newscast unit that the death toll is now at 9. Seven people died in Canadian County and two died in another jurisdiction.
Update at 11:18 p.m. ET. At Least 7 Dead:
During a televised press conference, Canadian County Under Sheriff Chris West said at least seven people had died because of the tornado. The Oklahoma medical examiner, Amy Elliott, told the AP that nine people had died.
Those numbers are both higher than the five that we had reported earlier this morning.
West said that "most if not all" of the fatalities "came out of vehicles."