As severe storms and tornadoes sweep through the central United States, at least two people have been killed and the death toll is expected to rise. Rescue workers are currently clearing debris and searching for people trapped in their homes. The National Weather Services (NWS) issued severe storm and tornado warnings on Wednesday, with more storms expected throughout Thursday. The storms have caused significant damage to infrastructure and homes in states such as Oklahoma, Kansas, and Iowa. Both deaths occurred in McClain County, Oklahoma, where emergency services are responding to people trapped in their homes. Some individuals have been hospitalised for injuries sustained during the storm, but the exact number of those injured is not yet known.
As of Thursday morning, more than 16,000 people were without power in Oklahoma, down from 23,000 at the peak of the severe weather. Storms have created tornadoes across the US South, Midwest, and Southeast this spring, killing dozens of people, knocking out power, and destroying buildings and power lines. Other regions of the country have also experienced fierce weather over the past several months, including large hurricanes slamming into states such as Florida, western states dealing with widespread flooding and extreme rainfall, and northern states hit with fierce winter storms.
In late March, tornadoes killed 26 people in Mississippi and Alabama. In early April, a series of tornadoes killed 32 people across states such as Indiana, Illinois, and Arkansas. A tornado in Missouri killed five several days later. The NWS Storm Prediction Center has warned that storms capable of producing more tornadoes are expected from Texas to Wisconsin on Thursday night. The centre has stated that “a mix of supercells and storm clusters is expected”.
Scott Gibbons, deputy sheriff for Oklahoma’s McClain County, has said that it is reasonable to expect more deaths based on the damage that has been seen. The storms have left a path of destruction in central states, and search and rescue efforts are expected to continue as the death toll rises. The severe weather has caused significant disruption to daily life, with power outages affecting thousands of people. Emergency services are working tirelessly to respond to those affected by the storms and provide assistance where necessary.