Massive tornadoes spawned in Oklahoma and Kansas on Saturday, leaving behind several paths of destruction. The National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center marked 19 tornado reports in the two states by 8 pm EDT.
The National Weather Service, located in Norman, Oklahoma, was briefly interrupted when a tornado warning hit the area, forcing employees to seek shelter.
The tornadoes started Sunday afternoon as a massive super cell storm traveled east. The first tornado was spotted on the southwest side of Wichita, Kansas. The National Weather Service called it a large “violent and extremely dangerous” tornado.
The second confirmed tornado was spotted near Edmond, Oklahoma. The twisters were moving northeast and east, respectively, at 30 mph. A third tornado was then seen moving northeast at 40 miles per hour. It touched down near Wellston, Oklahoma, taking out power lines and damaging homes.
CNN affiliate KFOR took video footage of the Wellston tornado, which the helicopter pilot estimated to be about half a mile wide. The pilot commented, “It’s tearing up everything. Just ripping everything up in its sight.”
At least one other tornado was confirmed near Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and tornado warnings were in effect for Lincoln and other northeastern cities in the state. Two tornadoes were spotted on the ground near Shawnee, Oklahoma, as of 8 pm EDT. At least one death has been reported in Shawnee.
The weather service, run by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) did not mince words in its latest warnings as the super cell storm hit. In its Kansas advisory, the service stated plainly:
“You could be killed if not underground or in a tornado shelter. Complete destruction of neighborhoods, businesses and vehicles will occur. Flying debris will be deadly to people and animals.”
No immediate reports of injuries or death from the Kansas and Oklahoma tornadoes have been made. The 19 reported twisters are part of a massive severe weather outbreak in the region. As the storms move east, Missouri and Iowa could also be affected. Baseball-sized hail, wind gusts, and tornadoes are expected to continue through Monday.
[Image via Twitter]