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Tornadoes rake 2 Oklahoma cities, killing 2 and injuring 29

Tornadoes rake 2 Oklahoma cities, killing 2 and injuring 29
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EL RENO, Okla. — A tornado levelled a motel and tore through a mobile home park near Oklahoma City overnight, killing two people and injuring at least 29 others before a second twister raked a suburb of Tulsa more than 100 miles away, authorities said Sunday.

The first tornado touched down in El Reno, about 25 miles west of Oklahoma City, late Saturday night. It crossed an interstate and walloped the American Budget Value Inn before ripping through the Skyview Estates trailer park, flipping and levelling homes, Mayor Matt White said at a news conference.

“It’s a tragic scene out there,” White said, adding later that, “People have absolutely lost everything.” He said the city established a gofundme site, the City of El Reno Tornado Relief Fund, to raise money to help affected families. Several other businesses were also damaged, though not to the same extent as the motel.

The two people who were killed were in the mobile home park, White said. Everyone at the motel was accounted for, but searchers were still going through the mobile home park. Many of the people living there are Hispanic and don’t speak English, which has complicated the rescue efforts, he said.

The 29 people who were injured were taken to hospitals, where some were undergoing surgery,  the mayor said. Some of the injuries were deemed critical, he said.

“The thing about El Reno is we are more than a community, we are a family. … We’re going to overcome this. It’s so devastating to see the loss out there,” he said.

April Sandefer, a spokeswoman for the University of Oklahoma Medical Center, said the hospital has treated 13 patients who were injured during the tornado. She declined to disclose the severity of the injuries or to say how many of the patients, if any, were admitted.

National Weather Service personnel were assessing the damage, but the agency gave the twister a preliminary EF-2 rating, which would mean it had wind speeds of 179-217 kph.

White didn’t give details about the people who were killed.

People have absolutely lost everything

The tornado was spawned by a powerful storm system that rolled through the state — the latest in a week of violent storms to hit the flood-weary Plains and Midwest that have been blamed for at least 11 deaths, including the two killed in El Reno.

The system spawned an apparent tornado that destroyed several buildings and downed trees and power lines early Saturday in the Tulsa suburb of Sapulpa, which is 177 kilometres northeast of El Reno.
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