A woman stands in disbelief at her home following a tornado. Carlo Allegri/Reuters
The powerful gust leveled the second story of a motel and killed at least two people at a mobile-home park in the area, reports said.
Severe damage, including fatalities, occurred after a likely tornado struck in El Reno, Oklahoma, on Saturday night, according to local police and media reports.
A likely Tornado destroyed a motel and caused other damage in the Oklahoma City area, according to the National Weather Service.
Meteorologist Rick Smith in Norman told The Associated Press that the suspected twister hit El Reno on Saturday night as a powerful storm system rolled through the state. Crews will arrive on the scene Sunday to determine with severity of the damage to the town just west of Oklahoma City.
The American Budget Value Inn was destroyed by the storm. Images at the scene showed emergency crews sifting through the rubble after part of the motel's second story collapsed into a pile of debris strewn about the first floor and parking lot. Elsewhere, overturned cars and twisted metal could be seen briefly as intermittent lightning flashed across the sky and the wailing sirens of approaching emergency vehicles could be heard in the distance.
Trailers at a mobile home park adjacent to the motel were also damaged, as was part of a nearby car dealership.
"We have absolutely experienced a traumatic event," El Reno Mayor Matt White said during a news conference early Sunday. "We've had an incident where a Tornado has basically hit a mobile home park and a hotel, and some other local businesses."
White said several people were transported to hospitals in Oklahoma City, but did not give an exact number.
"We're doing a search and rescue right now... we have all hands on deck," he said.
An emergency alert was issued for the state capital Jefferson City advising people to take shelter as heavy rain, hail, wind and lightning struck the state, along with neighboring Oklahoma and Kansas.
A tornado in the United States is a regular phenomenon, as regular as the succession of seasons. They occur at regular times and they follow regular paths.
Emergency management officials in Madison County said four were injured in addition to those killed when the tornado touched down in the area southwest of Des Moines at about 4:30pm. Among those killed were children and adults.
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