A “deadly supercell tornado” struck El Reno, Oklahoma, severely damaging a local hotel and mobile home park and causing deaths and serious injuries, police and the mayor have confirmed. The mayor later confirmed that at least two people had died and an unknown number of people were missing. Photos and videos showed severe damage to the hotel’s second floor and almost complete demolishing of the mobile home park.
At least 29 people were injured.
Authorities said in an early morning press conference that they didn’t want to commit to an injury count right now because the rescue efforts were still underway. The mayor, Matt White, did confirm that there were “several injuries.”
“Very dangerous situation tonight in El Reno. Severe damage with serious injuries and fatalities involved,” wrote Chief Richard Stephens of the Union City Police Department in a statement posted to the department’s Facebook page. You can see photos of the El Reno tornado damage throughout this article.
In an early morning press conference, the mayor called the mobile home park damage “horrific.” Authorities described the damage as “rubble.” Authorities described how rescue workers will be going through the rubble until they confirm they have found everybody. They suggested that family members should go to a local VFW post, not the scene.
“Please pray for those effected by these storms as well as the emergency services workers assisting in this ongoing rescue,” Chief Stephens wrote. “This is an unfortunate example of just how quickly these types of storms can develop from a simple thunderstorm into a deadly supercell tornado. Please remain weather aware and be prepared.”
The El Reno Police Department also confirmed, “We received damage to the Highway 66 and 81 area, please stay away from area while emergency crews respond and assess the area.”
Videos also captured the severe weather.
Part of the American Budget Value Inn in El Reno Collapsed
Dramatic before-and-after photos showed severe damage to the American Budget Value Inn in El Reno, Oklahoma. Part of the hotel’s second story collapsed, according to NBC News.
“We’re trying to assess how we get our first responders in and out of the area,” the mayor, Matt White, said in the press conference. He said authorities will know more around 9 a.m.
White said that, at 10:27 p.m., the alarms and sirens went off. He urged people not to tie up 911 if not necessary.
“Absolutely not,” he said around 2 a.m. when asked whether the rescue efforts were over.
“All the first responders are checking out all of the information and checking out where everyone is and whether they’re accounted for.”
He said there was a “big debris area” at the hotel. It was a two-story hotel. “The majority of the hotel’s second story is not there,” White said. He also referenced “the debris of the mobile home park.”
Photos showed the ominous skies. According to ABC News, the twister also struck the mobile home park.
Andrew Skidmore, emergency manager for Canadian County, Oklahoma, told ABC News: “Search and rescue continue, National Guard will report here within the hour; still an unknown number of people missing, two confirmed fatalities. We called every available resource to come help.”
Radar captured the twister’s development.
In the press conference, Mayor White said, “Our community is very resilient to this. We ask you to pray for us, pray for the first responders…we have to stick together. I know people want to help. We want your help.”