Deadly tornado reported in Oklahoma after barrage of destructive storms | CNN (2024)

Table of Contents
What we covered More tornadoes are possible Tuesday after powerful storms left at least 1 person dead in Oklahoma Nearly 200 storm reports were made across the US on Monday Natural gas leak reported in hard-hit Oklahoma city as rescue crews face impassable roads Nearly 100 million people are under severe storm threat across the East on Tuesday 1 person dead and multiple injured following powerful Oklahoma tornado Videos show homes ripped apart by tornado in Barnsdall, Oklahoma Tornado watch issued for parts of Illinois and Missouri Tornado strength is rated on the EF Scale. Here's what that means Search and rescue efforts are underway at Osage Nation Reservation Nearly 60,000 without power across Oklahoma and Missouri Tornado damages dozens of homes in Barnsdall, Oklahoma Storm that slammed Osage County continues its destructive path in neighboring Oklahoma county More than 1 million people in parts of Arkansas and Oklahoma are under a tornado watch Tornado emergency issued as destructive storm tears through Barnsdall, Oklahoma More than 110 storms reported across the US so far today "Large and extremely dangerous tornado" in Oklahoma Tornado watch issued for parts of Kansas, Missouri Tulsa added to rare "high risk" zone Tornado confirmed near Covington, Oklahoma Tornado watch issued for parts of Iowa, including Des Moines Here's how to prepare for nighttime tornadoes At least 2 dead in Texas flooding Forecast update: When will storms arrive in Oklahoma City? Radar shows multiple storms with tornado warnings in northwest Oklahoma Tornado confirmed southeast of Okeene, Oklahoma Tornado warning in effect for Enid, Helena and Lahoma, Oklahoma 90% chance of at least 1 strong tornado tonight, weather service says Tornado risk about to increase in Oklahoma Expected arrival time of storms changes slightly in parts of Oklahoma Storms will continue to mature in the coming hours Here's what the developing severe thunderstorms look like from space Severe thunderstorm warnings issued in 11 states so far It’s just after 4 p.m. CDT, here’s where storms are developing Tornado watch issued for Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, and Missouri Tornado outbreak still on track Severe thunderstorms underway in Oklahoma "Particularly Dangerous Situation" tornado watch issued It's 2 p.m. CDT: Here's where severe thunderstorms are developing The University of Oklahoma's Norman campus closing early due to severe weather Tornado watch issued for parts of Nebraska and Kansas Latest forecast warns of EF3 tornado potential Severe storms are underway When cities at the greatest risk for tornadoes should expect storms As storms loom, McConnell Air Force Base in Kansas relocates aircraft Why nighttime tornadoes are so deadly Storm threat shifts and expands through the week "Strong" tornadoes are expected today. Here's what that means and why you should take it seriously An unrelenting streak of severe weather is pounding the Central US Rare high risk of tornadoes issued for Oklahoma and Kansas, including Oklahoma City Severe thunderstorm outbreak could deliver intense, long-lasting tornadoes and massive hail References

Live Updates

Mary Gilbert, Eric Zerkel, Christina Zdanowicz, Zoe Sottile, Christina Maxouris and Elizabeth Wolfe, CNN

Updated 9:24 AM EDT, Tue May 7, 2024

Deadly tornado reported in Oklahoma after barrage of destructive storms | CNN (1)

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Drone video shows devastation after tornado tears through Oklahoma

02:15 - Source: CNN

What we covered

  • At least one person died and several others were injured after a tornado ripped through Barnsdall, Oklahoma, Monday night, Osage County Sheriff Eddie Virden told CNN affiliate KOKI. Tornadoes were spotted in the state as dangerous storms pummeled the Central US with rain, wind and hail Monday and through the night.
  • In hard-hit parts of northeastern Oklahoma, storms damaged dozens of homes, downed power lines and dumped piles of debris and household items across yards and roads.

51 Posts

Our live tornado and storm coverage has ended. Go here or scroll through the posts below to read more about the tornadoes.

More tornadoes are possible Tuesday after powerful storms left at least 1 person dead in Oklahoma

From CNN's Robert Shackelford
Deadly tornado reported in Oklahoma after barrage of destructive storms | CNN (2)

Emergency crew members assess damage in Barnsdall, Oklahoma.

Powerful storms moved through Oklahoma late Monday night, including a powerful tornado that hit Barnsdall, Oklahoma, where extensive damage and at least one death was reported.

The severe storm threat is ongoing across the Central US Tuesday, with the strongest storms expected across the Ohio Valley, but storms are possible from Texas to Pennsylvania.

Here are some forecast details:

  • Tornado watches are ongoing Tuesday across the Central US, including in parts of Oklahoma and Arkansas until 5 a.m. CT and in parts of Illinois and Missouri until 8 a.m. CT.
  • Indiana, northern Kentucky and western Ohio are facing a level 3 of 5 severe storm threat, with tornadoes, large hail and severe winds possible. The cities of Columbus, Cincinnati and Lexington are included in the threat area.
  • A level 2 of 5 severe storm threat spreads from northeastern Arkansas to southern Michigan, including Chicago and Nashville, where people could see large hail, damaging wind gusts and isolated tornadoes.
  • A level 1 of 5 severe storm threat stretches from Texas to Wisconsin, extending east to Pennsylvania, with large hail and damaging winds expected.

Nearly 200 storm reports were made across the US on Monday

From CNN's Robert Shackelford

Nearly 190 storm reports were made across the US on Monday, according to the Storm Prediction Center, including the tornado that hit Barnsdall, Oklahoma, leaving at least one person dead and extensive damage.

There were more than 100 high wind gust reports, with the most notable being an 82 mph gust reported in Chester, Oklahoma.

So far, there have been more than 70 large hail reports, with the most notable being a hail report of 4 inches in diameter reported in Moonlight, Kansas.

More than 7 million people remain under tornado watches at this time across parts of Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa and Illinois.

Natural gas leak reported in hard-hit Oklahoma city as rescue crews face impassable roads

From CNN's Joe Sutton

Authorities in Osage County, Oklahoma, are responding to a gas leak after a tornado struck the area, damaging dozens of homes, the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management said.

In the city of Barnsdall, several roads have been closed due to fallen debris as emergency crews work to evacuate residents and carry out rescues, the department said in a release.

“Crews from the numerous jurisdictions are responding to assist with medical transport, traffic and perimeter control, and search and rescue,” it added.

Several other counties in the region have reported flooded roads, power outages and damage to homes, barns and other community buildings, the release said.

Nearly 100 million people are under severe storm threat across the East on Tuesday

From CNN's Robert Shackelford
Deadly tornado reported in Oklahoma after barrage of destructive storms | CNN (3)

After a night of severe storms brought tornadoes, damaging wind gusts, large hail and heavy rain across parts of the Central US, the severe storm threat heads to more populated areas of the East on Tuesday.

Nearly 100 million people from Texas to Pennsylvania are under a severe storm threat, Tuesday, though the Ohio Valley is likely to see the worst of the storms, according to the Storm Prediction Center.

The strongest threat, level 3 of 5, covers most of Indiana, as well as northern Kentucky and western Ohio. The area includes Indianapolis, Columbus and Cincinnati in Ohio and Lexington, Kentucky.

“A few tornadoes, potentially strong, large to very large hail, and severe/damaging winds all appear possible” in the region, the Storm Prediction Center warns.

The area surrounding this region is under a less severe, level 2 of 5, threat, which stretches from the northeastern tip of Arkansas to southern Michigan, including Chicago and Nashville.

This area could also see isolated tornadoes, large hail and damaging wind gusts.

A much larger area extending from Texas to Wisconsin and east into Pennsylvania is under a low risk, level 1 of 5 of severe storms, including hail and strong winds. Cities in the area include Dallas, Austin, Detroit, Memphis, Birmingham, Charlotte and Pittsburgh.

On Wednesday, the storms will continue to soak the East from the southern Plains into the mid-Mississippi, Ohio and Tennessee valleys, the prediction center forecasts.

“All severe hazards, including tornadoes, very large hail, and severe/damaging winds should occur. Some of the tornadoes may be strong,” the prediction center said.

1 person dead and multiple injured following powerful Oklahoma tornado

From CNN’s Joe Sutton
Deadly tornado reported in Oklahoma after barrage of destructive storms | CNN (4)

Emergency responders work amid storm damage in Barnsdall, Oklahoma.

At least one person is dead and several others are injured after dangerous storms churned up a tornado in Osage County, Oklahoma, Monday night.

“There’s a lot of damage between Bartlesville and Barnsdall along the path of the tornado, a lot of houses damaged – some completely torn up.We’ve got one confirmed fatality and multiple injuries,” Osage County Sheriff Eddie Virden said in an on-air interview with CNN affiliate KOKI.

Residents in the area were already recovering from another tornado that hit Barnsdall just over a month ago

“Basically, the tornado took the same path that it did through Barnsdall several weeks ago,” the sheriff said.

Videos show homes ripped apart by tornado in Barnsdall, Oklahoma

From CNN's Amanda Jackson and Elizabeth Wolfe
Deadly tornado reported in Oklahoma after barrage of destructive storms | CNN (5)

Ground footage shows the damage in Barnsdall, Oklahoma, after a tornado hit the area.

A tornado tore a path of destruction through the city of Barnsdall, Oklahoma, Monday night, ripping apart homes, downing power lines and burying cars under tree limbs, video taken by a storm chaser shows.

Winds were powerful enough to flip a large RV upside down and rip massive chunks of roof off several homes, the video shows. Some walls and ceilings are collapsed completely.

At least one building was reduced to a pile of twisted metal and wooden beams. Elsewhere, residents surveyed tangled piles of debris and belongings blanketing the yard outside a home.

Residents stepped over downed power lines as they helped loved ones safely out of damaged homes and carried their pets through the damp streets as emergency crew vehicles lined the roads.

Tornado watch issued for parts of Illinois and Missouri

From CNN's Robert Shackelford

A tornado watch has been issued for parts of western Illinois and eastern Missouri until 8 a.m. CDT.

More than 3 million people live in the area covered by the watch, which includes St. Louis, Missouri.

Storms could unleash a few tornadoes, scattered damaging wind gusts to 70 mph and large hail to 1 inch in diameter.

Several tornado watches are currently in effect across the Central US, including parts ofOklahoma, Kansas, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois and Iowa.

Tornado strength is rated on the EF Scale. Here's what that means

From CNN's Madison Richardson

The National Weather Service rates the strength of tornadoes using the Enhanced Fujita (EF) Scale, which ranks tornadoes from 0 to 5 by assessing damage and determining wind speed.

Deadly tornado reported in Oklahoma after barrage of destructive storms | CNN (6)

Here’s the damage associated with each level:

EF0: 65- to 85-mph wind gusts

These tornadoes are the least destructive and typically break tree branches, damage road signs and push over small, shallow-rooted trees.

EF1: 86- to 110-mph wind gusts

With similar wind speeds toweak hurricanes, these tornadoes can push moving cars off course, shift mobile homes from their foundations and remove roof surfaces.

EF2: 111- to 135-mph wind gusts

Significant damage starts to emerge from these tornadoes, which can snap or uproot trees, destroy mobile homes and tear roofs completely off homes.

They also can pick up small objects and turn them into dangerous projectiles.

EF3: 136- to 165-mph wind gusts

These tornadoes produce severe damage, uprooting nearly all trees in their path, blowing over large vehicles like trains and buses and significantly damaging buildings.

Less than 5% of all tornadoes are rated EF3 or higher.

EF4: 166- to 200-mph wind gusts

Easily destroying homes, tossing cars and downing large trees, these tornadoes can be devastating.

EF5: 200+-mph wind gusts

These monsters cause complete devastation, flattening nearly everything in their path.

They are rare, with only 59 have been recorded in the United States since 1950, according to theStorm Prediction Center.

Search and rescue efforts are underway at Osage Nation Reservation

From CNN's Joe Sutton

Search and rescue efforts are ongoing at the Osage Nation Reservation in northeast Oklahoma after a powerful storm ripped through the area.

“Osage Nation Emergency Management (ONEM) and Police Department (ONPD) have joined numerous emergency agencies for search and rescue throughout the Osage Nation Reservation,” the Osage Nation said on theirFacebook pageearly Tuesday morning.

Tribal officials advised residents to stay off the roadways and avoid damaged areas.

“Our community is strong and eager to help those in need. We will share resources and ways to contribute as soon as possible,” the Osage Nation concluded in their message.

The Osage Nation Reservation is located within Osage County and is home to nearly 5,000 Osage people, according to the reservation website.

Nearly 60,000 without power across Oklahoma and Missouri

From CNN's Elizabeth Wolfe

About 58,000 people have lost power so far across parts of Oklahoma and Missouri as severe storms sweep through the states, according to tracker PowerOutage.us.

The majority of outages are in Oklahoma, where just over 42,000 are in the dark. Washington and Osage Counties, which have both seen tornadoes tonight, are particularly hard-hit.

More than 13,000 people are without power in western Missouri, according to the tracker.

Tornado damages dozens of homes in Barnsdall, Oklahoma

From CNN’s Joe Sutton and Robert Shackelford

Dozens of homes are damaged in Barnsdall, Oklahoma, after a powerful tornado blew through the city late Monday night, a state emergency management spokesperson said.

“Early estimate in Barnsdall is 30-40 homes damaged,” Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management spokesperson Keli Cain told CNN early Tuesday.

A nursing home was also damaged and residents are being evacuated, she said, noting there were “no injuries requiring hospital care.”

Emergency personnel in the city are imploring people to stay home and avoid the roads.

“Emergency personnel are attempting to respond to areas affected by the storm. PLEASE stay off the roads and away from damaged areas if possible. We will update you as soon as information becomes available,” the city said in aFacebookpost.

This marks the second time Barnsdall has been hit by a tornado in just over a month. On April 1, the city was struck by an EF-1 tornado, according to the National Weather Service in Tulsa.

Teams will likely be sent out to the city on Tuesday to survey damage and determine how strong Monday night’s tornado was.

Storm that slammed Osage County continues its destructive path in neighboring Oklahoma county

From CNN’s Joe Sutton
Deadly tornado reported in Oklahoma after barrage of destructive storms | CNN (7)

Damage is seen at the Hampton Inn hotel in Bartlesville, Oklahoma.

A destructive storm is continuing its path through northeast Oklahoma, causing damage in Washington County after tearing through neighboring Barnsdall in Osage County, according to emergency management officials.

The city of Bartlesville, with a population of about 37,000, took a “direct hit” from a tornado that blew through the area, Washington County Emergency Management Director of Operations Kary Cox said.

County officials are pleading with residents to stay home as emergency crews attempt to respond to hard-hit areas.

“Please stay off the roadways.Stay out of those damaged areas.We’re having a lot of difficulties getting in to do assessments, to check on people, to see if they got any injuries because of the traffic congestion,” Cox said.

The agency said it has received multiple reports of damage in the county and a key roadway has been cut off by debris.

“Washington Blvd (highway 75) is blocked both directions north of Frank Phillips and south of Tuxedo due to debris,” the agency advised.

More than 1 million people in parts of Arkansas and Oklahoma are under a tornado watch

From CNN's Robert Shackelford

A tornado watch has been issued for parts of western and northern Arkansas and eastern Oklahoma until 5 a.m. CDT Tuesday, the National Weather Service said.

More than 1.5 million people live in the area covered by the initial watch, which was expanded overnight to include a larger portion of northeast Oklahoma, including Tulsa.

Storms across the area could bring a few tornadoes, hail the size of ping-pong balls and widespread winds gusting up to 70 mph.

“This is a particularly dangerous situation for portions of northeast Oklahoma,” the weather service office in Tulsa said. “People in the tornado watch should be in a high state of readiness and be prepared to move to shelter immediately if a warning is issued!”

Currently, more than 11 million people in eight states are under tornado watches, including those in parts of South Dakota, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Arkansas and Iowa.

Tornado emergency issued as destructive storm tears through Barnsdall, Oklahoma

From CNN's Robert Shackelford

A tornado emergency has been issued by the National Weather Service for Barnsdall, Oklahoma, as a destructive tornado blasts through the area about 40 miles north of Tulsa.

Damage has been reported in the city, according to Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management spokesperson Keli Cain.

The storm that is pummeling Barnsdal is the same one that prompted urgent warnings of a “large and extremely dangerous tornado”further south in the city of Hominy earlier Monday night.

“You are in a life-threatening situation. Flying debris may be deadly to those caught without shelter. Mobile homes will be destroyed. Considerable damage to homes, businesses, and vehicles is likely and complete destruction is possible,” the National Weather Service office in Tulsa warned.

This storm is expected to continue to move to the northeast and could impact Bartlesville, which has a population of more than 35,000 people.

More than 110 storms reported across the US so far today

From CNN's Robert Shackelford

There have been more than 110 storm reports across the United States so far Monday as severe storms unleash damaging tornadoes, wind gusts, large hail and heavy rain.

At least 10 tornadoes have been reported, the majority of them in Oklahoma. A large and extremely dangerous tornado is on the ground near the city of Hominy, which is about 40 miles northwest of Tulsa.

There have also been more than 40 high wind gust reports, with the majority occurring across the Central Plains. Here are some of the notable wind speeds:

  • Chester, Oklahoma: 82 mph
  • Humboldt. Nebraska: 71 mph
  • Junction City, Kansas: 70 mph
  • Creighton. South Dakota: 65 mph

There have been more than 60 large hail reports so far, some of them bigger than a tennis ball. Here are some notable large hail reports:

  • Moonlight, Kansas: 4 inches
  • Claflin, Kansas: 3 inches
  • Canton, Oklahoma: 2.75 inches
  • Bell Buckle, Tennessee: 2 inches

"Large and extremely dangerous tornado" in Oklahoma

From CNN's Joe Sutton and Christina Maxouris

A “large and extremely dangerous tornado” was reported 5 miles southeast of the city of Hominy, Oklahoma, just before 9:20 p.m., according to the National Weather Service in Tulsa. Hominy is about 30 miles northwest of Tulsa.

The tornado was moving northeast at 40 mph, the service said.

“This is a PARTICULARLY DANGEROUS SITUATION,” the agency warned. “TAKE COVER NOW!”

Tornado watch issued for parts of Kansas, Missouri

From CNN's Rob Shackelford

A tornado watch has been issued for parts of western and central Missouri and eastern Kansas until 4 a.m. central time.

The watch covers more than 3 million people and includes Kansas City and Springfield.

The main threats are a few tornadoes, widespread damaging wind gusts of up to 75 mph and isolated large hail.

That means there are now four tornado watches in effect, covering parts of South Dakota, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and Iowa — with more than 10 million people under those watches, in cities like Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Wichita, Kansas City, Springfield and Des Moines.

Meanwhile, a flash flood warning is also in effect for several communities north of Oklahoma City including Perry, Morrison and Lucien until 12:15 a.m.

“Move immediately to higher ground!” the National Weather Service warned.

Tulsa added to rare "high risk" zone

From CNN's Eric Zerkel

An updated forecast from the Storm Prediction Center now has Tulsa, Oklahoma, in the Level 5 of 5 high risk.

The city was previously in the Level 4 out of 5 risk area. Storms should arrive in force after 10 p.m. CDT.

Little else has changed in the center’s latest forecast. Multiple intense, long-lasting tornadoes, giant hail and hurricane-force wind gusts are all expected through the overnight hours.

Tornado confirmed near Covington, Oklahoma

From CNN's Christina Maxouris

A tornado was near Covington, Oklahoma, just before 8 p.m. local time, the National Weather Service in Norman said.

A tornado warning, as well as threats of golf-ball sized hail remain for Lucien, Covington and Douglas, Oklahoma, until 8:30 p.m. Monday, according to the agency.

Tornado watch issued for parts of Iowa, including Des Moines

From CNN's Zoe Sottile

The National Weather Service has issued a tornado watch for parts of Iowa, including Des Moines, as well as parts of Nebraska and South Dakota.

The tornado watch lasts until 3 a.m. CDT, with “a couple tornadoes possible,” according to the NWS. Ping-pong size hail and scattered gusts of wind moving up to 75 miles per hour are also possible.

Over a million people live in the watch area, says the NWS. The area under watch includes Des Moines, Ames and Sioux City in Iowa.

Here's how to prepare for nighttime tornadoes

From CNN's Ritu Prasad

Tornadoes can happen at any time, and as the National Weather Service reminded Oklahoma residents this evening, they aren’t always visible.

“The tornadoes across north central Oklahoma have been heavily wrapped in rain, and soon we will be dark,” the weather service said on X. “You can’t rely on waiting to see tornadoes before sheltering tonight.”

Deadly tornado reported in Oklahoma after barrage of destructive storms | CNN (8)

Here’s how the National Weather Service suggests to prepare for these severe storms:

  • Have a plan: Know where your family will go if a tornado warning is issued, whether that’s a basem*nt or another safe building or shelter.
  • Stay tuned to your local forecast and keep your NOAA Weather Radioin alert mode to be aware of the latest warnings.
  • Know how your area sends alerts or warnings – via sirens or smart phones, for example.
  • Turn on Wireless Emergency Alerts on your phone and keep it charged overnight.

You can find more tips from the weather service here.

At least 2 dead in Texas flooding

From CNN’s Joe Sutton

In eastern Texas, at least two people are dead after intense deluges and record river flooding.

A man died after being swept away in floodwaters in Bosque County, approximately 60 miles south of Dallas-Fort Worth. A 4-year-old boy also died in floodwaters near Fort Worth on Sunday.

The second death was announced by Bosque County law enforcement Monday afternoon.

A woman called 911 dispatch early Sunday morning after she was unable to make contact with her husband, according to the Bosque County Sheriff’s Office.The woman said “her husband had exited the residence to check on the rising water near their home, an RV located near a creek,”according to the sheriff’s office.

Flooding in the area hindered emergency responders from getting to the scene, but eventually they were able to rescue the woman. They also “located the body of the husband who had been swept away in the rushing water and drowned,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement on Facebook.

Authorities did not share the victim’s identity.

“Our prayers are with the family as they mourn the loss of their loved one,” Sheriff Trace Hendricks said.

Forecast update: When will storms arrive in Oklahoma City?

From CNN Meteorologist Mary Gilbert
Deadly tornado reported in Oklahoma after barrage of destructive storms | CNN (9)

One forecast model depiction of how storms could move through the Oklahoma City area Monday night.

Dangerous storms are tracking across Oklahoma and will approach the state’s capital in the next few hours.

The most likely timing for severe weather to begin in the Oklahoma City area is around 10 p.m. CDT. This estimate has shifted back several hours from initial forecasts as the storms are tracking east a bit slower than originally expected.

As storms move through the area tonight, damaging wind gusts, large hail and tornadoes are possible. Oklahoma City remains within the Level 5 of 5 risk area for severe thunderstorms, according to the Storm Prediction Center.

Radar shows multiple storms with tornado warnings in northwest Oklahoma

Deadly tornado reported in Oklahoma after barrage of destructive storms | CNN (10)

Storms in northwest Oklahoma as of 7 p.m. CDT. Tornado warnings in red; severe thunderstorm warnings in yellow.

Tornado confirmed southeast of Okeene, Oklahoma

From CNN's Zoe Sottile

A tornado has been spotted southeast of Okeene, Oklahoma, according to the National Weather Service.

The tornado is “heavily wrapped in rain,” the weather service said.

The service urged people living near Lacey, Bison or Waukomis to “take shelter now.”

“Very large hail is possible with this storm,” forecasters cautioned earlier.

Tornado warning in effect for Enid, Helena and Lahoma, Oklahoma

From CNN's Ritu Prasad

A tornado warning – which means a tornado has been spotted or indicated by radar – has been issued for the city of Enid and the towns of Helena and Lahoma in Oklahoma until 6:30 p.m. local time, the National Weather Service says.

Deadly tornado reported in Oklahoma after barrage of destructive storms | CNN (11)

“The potential for tornadoes is increasing as storms move eastward across northern Oklahoma,” the weather service office in Norman, Oklahoma, said on X, adding, “Don’t let your guard down!”

90% chance of at least 1 strong tornado tonight, weather service says

From CNN's Ritu Prasad

The risk of severe weather tonight in southern Kansas and central Oklahoma is dangerously high, with National Weather Service forecasters putting the probability of two or more tornadoes at over 95%.

And probability of at least one strong tornado – EF2 to EF5 – is at 90%, according to the NWS office in Norman, Oklahoma.

The chance of 10 or more storms with hail larger than 1 inch is also high, at 80%, and 10 or more severe wind events (58 mph or stronger) at 70%, the office said.

Tornado risk about to increase in Oklahoma

From CNN's Eric Zerkel

Expected arrival time of storms changes slightly in parts of Oklahoma

From CNN's Eric Zerkel

Strong storms are ongoing in parts of western Oklahoma, but the worst storms are now expected to arrive in Oklahoma City and other parts of central and eastern Oklahoma a couple of hours later than previously thought, according to the National Weather Service office in Norman, Oklahoma.

Previous forecast guidance called for the “most likely” arrival of storms in the Oklahoma City area at around 5 p.m. CDT. Now, those storms are expected around 7 p.m. local time.

Here’s the latest thinking:

Deadly tornado reported in Oklahoma after barrage of destructive storms | CNN (12)

Storms will continue to mature in the coming hours

From CNN Meteorologist Taylor Ward
Deadly tornado reported in Oklahoma after barrage of destructive storms | CNN (13)

Storms as of 5 p.m. CDT. Tornado warnings in red; severe thunderstorm warnings in yellow.

Tonight’s storms are still in their infancy, with numerous severe thunderstorm warnings from south central Nebraska through central Kansas and into western Oklahoma.

A tornado warning near Waynoka, Oklahoma, is the first tornado warning in a Level 4 of 5 or Level 5 “high risk” area.

These storms will continue to mature in the coming hours with the peak of this event this evening, including the hours after dark, which are notoriously dangerous.

Here's what the developing severe thunderstorms look like from space

From CNN Meteorologist Mary Gilbert

Satellite imagery captured a line of severe thunderstorms roaring to life across western Kansas, western Oklahoma and the Texas Panhandle this afternoon.

In the loop below, some of these storms develop seemingly out of nowhere, but their development is actually happening along what’s known as a dry line.

A dry line marks the boundary between very dry air and very moist air, similar to a how a front is the boundary between warm and cool air.

It’s a very frequent feature of springtime weather in the Plains and many severe thunderstorms get their start along it before tracking east and growing stronger.

Severe thunderstorm warnings issued in 11 states so far

From CNN Meteorologist Mary Gilbert

All eyes are on the Plains as a major severe thunderstorm event gets underway. The worst storms of the day are expected to develop within the next few hours, but even so, almost a dozen states have endured severe thunderstorms since the early afternoon.

The main risk for severe thunderstorms today still stretches from Texas to the Dakotas, but damaging thunderstorms have also developed in the northern Rockies and parts of the East.

Severe thunderstorms in parts of the Southeast, Tennessee Valley and mid-Atlantic are being fueled by a combination of very moist air and peak daytime heating.

Severe warnings have been issued in the following states since 12 p.m. EDT:

Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Montana, North Carolina, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee and Virginia.

It’s just after 4 p.m. CDT, here’s where storms are developing

Deadly tornado reported in Oklahoma after barrage of destructive storms | CNN (14)

Tornado warnings in red; severe thunderstorm warnings in yellow.

Tornado watch issued for Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, and Missouri

From CNN's Eric Zerkel

A tornado watch has been issued by the Storm Prediction Center for more than 2 million people living in eastern Nebraska, western Iowa, northeastern Kansas and extreme northwestern Missouri until 11:00 p.m. CDT.

The watch includes areas hard-hit by devastating tornadoes in the last couple of weeks, including Lincoln and Omaha, Nebraska.

Storms that move across the area could produce “a few tornadoes and a couple of intense tornadoes” along with 75 mph damaging winds and egg-sized hail, according to the Storm Prediction Center.

There are now three tornado watches in effect for more than 6 million people across six states in the Central US.

Tornado outbreak still on track

From CNN Meteorologist Mary Gilbert

Although few severe storms have fired up yet, parts of the Plains are still on the precipice of a very serioussevere thunderstorm outbreak. Storms are developing from Oklahoma to the Dakotas and will get more dangerous through the evening.

The forecast from earlier in the afternoon remains on track in the latest Storm Prediction Center update, with some of the most fearsome storms likely in parts of Oklahoma and Kansas.

Deadly tornado reported in Oklahoma after barrage of destructive storms | CNN (15)

Multiple intense tornadoes of at least EF3 strength are expected in Oklahoma and Kansas, but tornadoes of any kind are possible from Texas north to the Dakotas and east into Illinois.

Severe thunderstorms underway in Oklahoma

From CNN Meteorologist Mary Gilbert

Severe thunderstorms are developing in far western Oklahoma and the Texas Panhandle. These storms will only get stronger as they track east through much of Oklahoma this evening and into the overnight.

Intense, long-lasting tornadoes — some of which could be EF3 or stronger — are possible across a large portion of Oklahoma and Kansas, especially later this evening.

"Particularly Dangerous Situation" tornado watch issued

From CNN's Eric Zerkel
Deadly tornado reported in Oklahoma after barrage of destructive storms | CNN (16)

A rare “particularly dangerous situation” tornado watch calling for “numerous tornadoes” has been issued by the Storm Prediction Center forparts of south-central Kansas, central Oklahoma – including Oklahoma City – until 11 p.m. CDT.

This is a special kind of tornado watch issued only when there’s unusually high confidence in the potential of multiple long-lived and strong tornadoes in the area.

“Numerous tornadoes (are) expected with a few intense tornadoes likely,” the Storm Prediction Center said. “Intense tornadoes are probable especially as the atmosphere becomes very favorable for tornadoes late this afternoon and continuing through the evening.”

The watch also calls for “explosive thunderstorm development” with damaging wind gusts up to 75 mph and very large softball-sized hail likely.

Tornado watches are issued to signal to people in a given area that they should prepare for tornadoes in the area in coming hours. A tornado warning is issued when a tornado is imminent or in progress.

It's 2 p.m. CDT: Here's where severe thunderstorms are developing

From CNN Meteorologist Mary Gilbert
Deadly tornado reported in Oklahoma after barrage of destructive storms | CNN (17)

Storms move over parts of Nebraska and Kansas around 1:45 p.m. CDT Monday.

Severe thunderstorms have bubbled up to form a lengthy line from southern Nebraska into central Kansas. The storms are packing 60-mph wind gusts and hail the size of quarters and half dollars, according to National Weather Service warnings.

Storms will continue to develop along the northern and southern edge of the current line throughout the afternoon, stretching across more of Nebraska and Kansas.

A few severe thunderstorms have also developed in western South Dakota. One storm about 40 miles north of Rapid City prompted a tornado warning.

The University of Oklahoma's Norman campus closing early due to severe weather

From CNN's Christina Zdanowicz

The University of Oklahoma campus in Norman will close at 3:30 p.m. CDT due to the potential for severe weather, the university said in a Monday statement.

Instructors will work with students to reschedule any final exams that were planned for after 3:30 p.m.

The University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center will close at 3 p.m. CDT due to the weather, the university said.

Both campuses have a rare high risk for severe thunderstorms — Level 5 of 5 —covering parts of Oklahoma and Kansas, including Oklahoma City. The most likely timing for the powerful storms could start around 5 p.m. CDT and end around 12 a.m. CDT Tuesday.

Tornado watch issued for parts of Nebraska and Kansas

From CNN Meteorologist Mary Gilbert

A tornado watch has been issued by the Storm Prediction Center for more than 430,000 people living in Nebraska and north-central Kansas until 7:00 p.m. CDT.

“A strong tornado or two is possible later this afternoon, mainly across portions of north-central Kansas into south-central Nebraska as the environment becomes increasingly favorable for tornadoes,” the SPC said.

Damaging wind gusts and large to very large hail are also possible within any thunderstorms in the watch area.

Latest forecast warns of EF3 tornado potential

From CNN's Mary Gilbert and Eric Zerkel

Multiple intense tornadoes of at least EF3 strength are expected in parts of the Plains later this afternoon and evening, according to the latest severe thunderstorm forecast issued by the Storm Prediction Center. These tornadoes could also rage for miles at a time.

The center had previously warned strong tornadoes of at least EF2 strength were likely, but has grown more confident extremely powerful tornadoes will occur.

Around 85% of all tornado deaths happen in EF3 or stronger tornadoes, according to NOAA. These stronger tornadoes are also responsible for the majority of deaths and significant damage, even to well-constructed buildings.

Severe storms are underway

From CNN Meteorologist Mary Gilbert

Severe thunderstorms have started to bubble to life in northwestern Kansas and will likely initiate soon in southern Nebraska. These storms will expand in coverage and strength throughout the afternoon.

When cities at the greatest risk for tornadoes should expect storms

From CNN Meteorologist Mary Gilbert

A very significant risk for severe thunderstorms is in place for parts of Oklahoma and Kansas today. Dangerous storms are likely to develop around mid-afternoon and grow stronger through the evening for areas located within the Level 4 of 5 and Level 5 of 5 risk areas.

Here’s the most likely timing for powerful storms that could spin up dangerous tornadoes and unload damaging hail:

Within Level 5 of 5 risk:

  • Oklahoma City:
  • Start time: around 5 p.m. CDT Monday
  • End time: around 12:00 a.m. Tuesday

Within Level 4 of 5 risk:

  • Wichita, Kansas:
  • Start time: around 4 p.m. CDT Monday
  • End time: around 11 p.m. CDT Monday
  • Tulsa, Oklahoma:
  • Start time: around 9 p.m. CDT Monday
  • End time: around 3 a.m. CDT Tuesday

As storms loom, McConnell Air Force Base in Kansas relocates aircraft

From CNN’s Andy Rose and Christina Zdanowicz
Deadly tornado reported in Oklahoma after barrage of destructive storms | CNN (18)

An aircraft takes off from McConnell Air Force Base in a photo released by the base on Monday.

McConnell Air Force Base, which is just southeast of Wichita, Kansas, is relocating aircraft as severe weather threatens the Plains.

This is the third time in four weeks the base has had to move aircraft because of threatening weather, Public Affairs Officer John Van Winkle told CNN.

“The base’s KC-135R Stratotanker and KC-46A Pegasus aircraft are being relocated to other military bases outside the local area to protect the aircraft from potential damage,” the 22ndAir Refueling Wing said in a statement.

The KC-135 Stratotanker provides the “core aerial refueling capability” for the US Air Force. This aircraft and the KC-46A Pegasus both support aerial fueling for the some other wings of the armed services, among other services.

“The remaining aircraft, undergoing various phases of maintenance, along with a range of flightline vehicles and equipment, are being stored in hangars,” the statement said.

Why nighttime tornadoes are so deadly

From CNN Meteorologist Mary Gilbert

Dangerous, intense tornadoes capable of tracking for miles are possible late this afternoon through much of tonight in parts of the Plains. Many of these tornadoes could occur after nightfall, especially in Kansas and Oklahoma.

Nighttime tornadoes aretwice as likelyto be deadly as those that occur during the day, a2022 study found.

Researchers found that nighttime tornadoes from 1950 to 2019 made up less than a third of tornadoes, but were responsible for a staggering 42% of tornado deaths.

Tornado fatalities during the daytime hours have decreased by 20% since the late 1800s because of advances in science and communication, the study found. But the amount of nighttime tornado fatalities actually increased by 20% during the same period.

The increase could be due to factors like location and home construction, but the researchers said the most obvious issue is a large portion of the population is asleep at night and may miss life-saving warnings.

The best way to stay safe during a nocturnal tornado threat is to have multiple ways to receive severe weather warnings. At the very least, make sure emergency alerts are enabled on your smartphone. Charge devices ahead of time and set phones or alarms on a loud volume so you’re not caught unaware.

Storm threat shifts and expands through the week

From CNN Meteorologist Mary Gilbert

Severe thunderstorms are likely beyond Monday as the peak of severe weather season shifts into gear. Additional damaging storms are likely through at least Thursday across the central and eastern US.

Some severe thunderstorms from Monday night will likely persist into Tuesday morning and could impact parts of the Midwest. Damaging wind gusts are the main threat with lingering storms Tuesday morning, but hail and an isolated tornado can’t be ruled out.

The storms are expected to dissipate by the afternoon, but additional severe thunderstorms are likely to bubble up in their wake.

Parts of the Midwest and Tennessee Valley are under a Level 2 of 5 risk of severe thunderstorms on Tuesday, including Indianapolis, Cincinnati and Nashville.

Afternoon and evening storms could unload damaging wind gusts, hail the size of baseballs and tornadoes.

A much more expansive threat is shaping up for Wednesday. Over 48 million people are in a Level 2 of 5 or higher risk for severe thunderstorms Wednesday.

Severe thunderstorms could rumble to life by late Wednesday morning in the southern Plains and Mississippi Valley. The storms will grow in scope and strength as they track east throughout the afternoon and evening, eventually reaching the Appalachians late Wednesday night.

Deadly tornado reported in Oklahoma after barrage of destructive storms | CNN (19)

Hail, damaging winds and tornadoes are the main threats with any storm. Some tornadoes could become strong — at least EF2 strength — especially from far northeastern Texas to far southwestern Ohio.

An additional round of severe thunderstorms could develop in the East from Georgia to New Jersey on Thursday afternoon. A separate area of fierce storms is possible in Texas. Any storms Thursday could produce damaging wind gusts and hail.

"Strong" tornadoes are expected today. Here's what that means and why you should take it seriously

From CNN's Eric Zerkel

Forecasters have higher than normal confidence today will be extremely active, explicitly calling out the likelihood of “multiple, strong” tornadoes.

The idea of a strong tornado may sound strange (aren’t all tornadoes strong?), but this wording is a signal they could be even more destructive and dangerous than usual.

Unlike hurricane winds, which meteorologists measure in realtime, tornadoes are categorized based on the severity of the damage they inflict. This tornado damage scale is called the Enhanced Fujita scale, or EF-scale.

Deadly tornado reported in Oklahoma after barrage of destructive storms | CNN (20)

Most tornadoes are relatively weak and fall within the EF0 to EF1 range. Strong tornadoes are ones with the potential to cause EF2 or stronger damage. This includes the chance for “violent” tornadoes, a term reserved for extremely rare EF4 or stronger tornadoes, like the deadly one that hit Marietta, Oklahoma, just last week.

Despite their rarity, these stronger tornadoes are those responsible for the majority of deaths and significant damage, even to well-constructed buildings.

Around 85% of all tornado deaths happen in EF3 or stronger tornadoes, according to NOAA, a grim fact holding true this year.

Of the 12 people who have died in tornadoes so far this year, 11 have died in strong or violent tornadoes, according to preliminary statistics from the Storm Prediction Center.

An unrelenting streak of severe weather is pounding the Central US

From CNN Meteorologist Mary Gilbert

Today’s severe weather outbreak will keep the nearly two-week-long streak of damaging weather going in the central US.

At least one tornado has occurred in the US every day 10 consecutive days, some of which were destructive and turned deadly, while others exhibited truly odd behavior.

Among the recent tornadoes was the first EF4 tornado in over a year, which hit Marietta, Oklahoma, on April 27.

An incredibly active severe weather stretch at the end of April brought the month’s tornado tally to at least 300 and made it the second-most active April for tornadoes on record.

More than 550 tornadoes reports have been logged so far this year.

April and May are typically the most active months for tornadoes and severe thunderstorms, especially in the central US. This is because moist air flows north from the Gulf of Mexico and clashes frequently with cold fronts sweeping across the region in the spring to create explosive storms.

Additional severe thunderstorms are likely in the coming days and could potentially expand the streak even further.

Rare high risk of tornadoes issued for Oklahoma and Kansas, including Oklahoma City

From Monica Garrett, CNN Meteorologist

The threat of severe storms has increased to the highest level, 5 out of 5, for portions of central Oklahoma, including Oklahoma City, into southern Kansas, for the threat of multiple intense, long-track tornadoes, according to the Storm Prediction Center.

High risk days are rare and reserved for when there is higher than normal confidence an outbreak of storms will contain tornadoes, damaging winds and/or severe hail. High risks only happen a couple of times each year on average.

The last Level 5 risk was issued on March 31, 2023. There were more than 150 reports of tornadoes that day. It has been nearly five years since Oklahoma has been under a high risk and almost seven years for Kansas.

Intense storms are expected across Oklahoma and southern Kansas by late afternoon and will continue after dark.

“Multiple intense, long-track tornadoes, very large to giant hail, and severe/damaging winds all appear likely,” the SPC warns.

Severe thunderstorm outbreak could deliver intense, long-lasting tornadoes and massive hail

From CNN Meteorologist Mary Gilbert

The most significant threat of the severe weather in over a year is poised to deliver intense, long-lasting tornadoes, hail larger than softballs and damaging wind gusts Monday.

A tornado and severe weather outbreak will begin in the central US Monday afternoon and last through Monday night, according to the Storm Prediction Center.

Storms will fire up Monday afternoon from southwestern Nebraska through western Kansas. The storms will likely grow in both strength and scope as they track east throughout the afternoon and evening hours. Tornadoes, hail bigger than baseballs and damaging wind gusts are possible.

The storms with the greatest tornado threat of the day are likely to roar to life later Monday afternoon in western Oklahoma and slowly track east through the evening. Monday evening into early Monday night is the timeframe of greatest concern for strong — at least EF2 strength — tornadoes with the potential to stay on the ground for miles.

Storms that produce these dangerous tornadoes could also unload destructive hail bigger than softballs.

Severe thunderstorms will slowly lose some of their strength late Monday night as they push into the Mississippi Valley. A few damaging storms are likely to reach into the Midwest by Tuesday morning.

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Deadly tornado reported in Oklahoma after barrage of destructive storms | CNN (2024)

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