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Two killed as tornadoes, storms rip through Oklahoma

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2023-04-20T19:28:02Z

Severe thunderstorms rolling through the U.S. Midwest produced several tornadoes Wednesday (April 19) night. The rural town of Cole, Oklahoma was hit hard by a monster tornado, ripping off roofs, knocking down trees, dropping golf ball-sized hail and causing widespread power outages.

At least two people were killed in McClain County, Oklahoma, as severe thunderstorms and tornadoes swept through several regions of Central U.S. late on Wednesday, local authorities said.

The storms resulted in at least two fatalities with crews responding to several people injured and trapped in their homes, McClain County Emergency Management said in a Facebook post, urging residents to stay out of the affected areas.

The National Weather Service (NWS) had issued warnings for severe thunderstorms, hail, and tornadoes for Wednesday into the night across parts of the Central U.S. including Oklahoma, Kansas and Iowa.

Strong thunderstorms with severe weather potential were forecast for Thursday morning into the afternoon, according to the NWS.

Almost 20,000 customers in Oklahoma remained without power as of early Thursday due to the storms, according to the website poweroutage.us.

This comes weeks after a tornado tore through southeastern Missouri, killing five people. A previous bout of thunderstorms also unleashed a tornado last month that devastated the town of Rolling Fork, Mississippi, destroying many of the community’s 400 homes and killing 26 people.

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A man uses an excavator to remove fallen trees following overnight tornadoes in Cole, Oklahoma, U.S., April 20, 2023. REUTERS/Nick Oxford

A general view shows damage following overnight tornadoes in Cole, Oklahoma, U.S., April 20, 2023. REUTERS/Nick Oxford

A general view shows damage following overnight tornadoes in Cole, Oklahoma, U.S., April 20, 2023. REUTERS/Nick Oxford

A dead cow lies on the field following overnight tornadoes in Cole, Oklahoma, U.S., April 20, 2023. REUTERS/Nick Oxford

People evacuate cows from a barn destroyed during overnight tornadoes in Cole, Oklahoma, U.S., April 20, 2023. REUTERS/Nick Oxford

A general view shows damage during a rain-wrapped tornado in Cole, Oklahoma, U.S., April 19, 2023, in this screen grab obtained from a social media video. Hans Duran/via REUTERS

Storm clouds are seen in Chickasha, Oklahoma, U.S. April 19, 2023 in this screen grab obtained from a social media video. Twitter@aidanbxyz/ via REUTERS

Storm clouds are seen in Anadarko, Oklahoma, U.S. April 19, 2023 in this screen grab obtained from a social media video. Twitter@aidanbxyz/ via REUTERS

Cows are evacuated from a barn destroyed during overnight tornadoes in Cole, Oklahoma, U.S., April 20, 2023. REUTERS/Nick Oxford