Oklahoma Tornadoes Leave at Least 1 Dead

Oklahoma Tornadoes Leave at Least 1 Dead

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Severe thunderstorms and high winds on Saturday night left at least one person dead in Oklahoma, injured other residents and destroyed homes, the authorities said, as more than two dozen tornadoes were reported overnight.

Early reports indicated that damage from the storms was concentrated in Oklahoma, where a series of tornadoes was reported to have ripped through parts of the state, including the cities of Sulphur, Holdenville and Ardmore, according to the Weather Service.

Video and photos from the television station KOCO News showed businesses in downtown Sulphur damaged or leveled, and cars impaled by flying debris.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency reported at least one fatality in Oklahoma, though it was not immediately clear where.

There were injuries, downed power lines and flooded roads in several counties, the state’s Department of Emergency Management said in a statement late Saturday. At least 16 homes in Oklahoma were destroyed, FEMA said in a briefing Sunday morning.

The severe weather came a day after tornadoes tore through parts of Nebraska and Iowa and leveled dozens of homes. In Iowa, 270 homes and multiple structures were damaged or destroyed in Pottawattamie County, and about 25 homes were damaged or destroyed in Shelby County, according to FEMA.

More than 1.9 million people in three states, including a large section of Texas, face an “enhanced” risk of severe weather on Sunday, with threats of wind damage, large hail and some tornadoes, according to the Storm Prediction Center.

Thunderstorms were expected to move east into the Mississippi Valley on Sunday, and heavy rains were forecast in Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana, the National Weather Service said.

Nearly 30 tornadoes were reported across the region between Saturday afternoon and early Sunday, including some on Saturday night in Kansas, Missouri and Texas, according to the Weather Service.

Ryan Jewell, a forecaster at the Weather Prediction Center of the National Weather Service, said that the situation on Saturday was complicated because there were so many storms.

“They start interacting and there’s several pockets of potential,” he said.

Tornadoes on Friday struck several areas of Nebraska and Iowa, where at least nine people were injured as winds battered the region.

At a news conference on Saturday in Douglas County, Neb., where more than 150 homes were damaged, Chris Franks of the Weather Service described extensive damage from winds of up to 165 m.p.h.

“These are strong tornadoes, rare tornadoes,” he said, describing a system that started in the Lincoln area, and another tornado that formed over Eppley Airfield in Omaha. “To have tornadoes that are in the less than 10 percent chance of occurring happen in and around the metro area is extraordinary, again, with the lack of fatalities and the critical injuries.”

The Weather Service said it had received more than 100 reports of tornadoes in at least five states in the Great Plains on Friday.

Gov. Jim Pillen of Nebraska said he visited several hard-hit areas, which he described as “extraordinarily sobering.”

Phil Enke, an elder at Harvest Alliance Church in Minden, Iowa, said that the place of worship was leveled in Friday’s storms. Mr. Enke, 65, walked over splintered wood and debris on Saturday afternoon, looking for documents and photographs that he could salvage.

“We were just trying to get stuff that can’t be replaced,” Mr. Enke said.

“It’s a hassle and a mess, but you just have to pick up the pieces and move on,” he added.

Johnny Diaz contributed reporting.

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