One dead in Oklahoma tornado as severe storms hit central and southern states

One dead in Oklahoma tornado as severe storms hit central and southern states

At least one person in Oklahoma has died as a result of a tornado that tore through small towns as severe storms moved from the south into central areas, destroying and disrupting millions of people.

Osage County Sheriff Eddie Virden told NBC News that the unidentified person died Monday evening as a result of a tornado in Barnsdall, a town of about 1,000 residents about 40 miles (65 kilometers) north of Tulsa, amid some of the worst destruction from the storm .

Virden said it was too early to say how many others may have been injured, but said his deputies performed multiple rescues. “There are areas and homes that have been completely destroyed. We have carried out several rescues of people trapped in the rubble,” he said.

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol said on X that it had set up a meeting point in the city for anyone looking for loved ones.

Bartlesville, 20 miles (32 kilometers) to the northeast, was similarly hit. A hotel in the city was severely damaged, according to social media posts uploaded by witnesses. Firefighters were called to rescue some people who were trapped.

The Bartlesville city government said significant damage was caused throughout Bartlesville, with some power lines down, but only minor injuries have been reported so far. Residents were urged to stay indoors and stay off the roads.

The National Weather Service issued a rare tornado emergency declaration for Osage on Monday. “There is a large, extremely dangerous and potentially deadly tornado on the ground,” the report said. The tornado watch was extended until 5 a.m. Tuesday morning.

Osage Nation Emergency Management and local police said on Facebook they had joined “numerous search and rescue agencies through the Osage Nation reservation.”

“Our community is strong and eager to help those in need,” the report said.

Across Oklahoma, more than 25,000 utility customers were without power as of 5 a.m. local time on Tuesday, according to the website, while 18,000 were without power in Missouri and nearly 10,000 in Arkansas.

The National Weather Service said the severe weather — which has affected parts of the country for more than five weeks — will continue at least until Wednesday as an area of ​​low pressure develops over the Great Lakes.

A tornado also ripped through Smithville, Tennessee, downing trees and damaging homes, as seen in footage uploaded to social media.

Three people have died in Texas as a result of storms and flooding there, Gov. Greg Abbott said Monday.