At least 5 people, including infant, dead after night of tornadoes, storms in the Midwest (2024)

Dawn broke over scenes of devastation in several counties across Oklahoma on Sunday, with reports of severe structural damage, closed highways, blackouts, injuries and at least five deaths. There have been 35 reports of tornadoes overnight so far.

Twenty-seven million people remained at risk of severe weather into Sunday, including wind gusts, hail, flood risk and potentially more tornadoes.

Saturday's severe weather came less than 36 hours after more than 100 tornadoes leveled homes and buildings in six states Friday, with Nebraska and Iowa being hit hardest, officials said.

The National Weather Service office in Norman, Oklahoma, confirmed late Saturday that multiple tornadoes were in its area, including one near Davenport and more than one in the area of Sulphur, a small town of about 5,000 people 80 miles south of Oklahoma City, which appeared to have taken the biggest hit.

On Sunday, the weather service's Norman office said that, based on preliminary damage survey results, tornadoes with ratings of at least EF3 tore through Sulphur and Marietta in Oklahoma. The service said more investigation would be necessary to determine whether the rating will go higher.

The Murray County Emergency Management reported “significant damage” in Sulphur. In Love County, patients had to shelter during storms that damaged Marietta Hospital, though no injuries were reported, the county emergency management office said.

Also in Marietta, four semitrucks overturned, killing one person, after a tornado ripped through Interstate 35 on Saturday night, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol said.

Oklahoma’s Office of Emergency Management confirmed three deaths, one near Marietta on I-35 and two others in Holdenville. Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt arrived Sunday afternoon in Sulphur, where he said a fourth person died in the downtown area.

One of the Holdenville victims was 4 months old, Stitt's press secretary said, citing Holdenville officials.

More than 170 storms were reported Saturday after days of severe weather. Storms were still expected through southern Missouri to southeast Texas on Sunday.

At least 5 people, including infant, dead after night of tornadoes, storms in the Midwest (1)

Flash flooding is also a concern for 18 million people from Kansas City to Lake Charles, Louisiana. Some flood warnings will continue into Monday.Video emerging on social media early Sunday showed heavy damage across Sulphur, including toppled trees and scattered bricks and wooden beams. Buildings in the downtown area sustained significant structural damage, including blown-out windows and missing walls. Others appeared to have been leveled and reduced to rubble.

The Oklahoma Health Department reported 100 injuries at area hospitals, according to the state Emergency Management Department. Of the injured, 25 were cut or had been pierced, 30 fell, 16 were hit by or struck against objects, 17 sustained transportation-related injuries, and 12 others were hurt by other means, the emergency services department said. The extent of each of the injuries was unclear.

Red Cross Oklahoma said early Sunday that it was opening a shelter in Sulphur and was in contact with officials in more than a dozen counties to help with the immediate needs of affected residents.

Stitt signed an executive order Sunday declaring a disaster emergency.

In neighboring Hughes County, officials reported four people injured, as well as several structures either damaged or destroyed, after a tornado ripped through its western part late Saturday.

On Sunday, Hughes County Emergency Management reported 14 homes were damaged or destroyed in Holdenville. In addition, officials said four properties were damaged in Okfuskee County, and Pottawatomie County Emergency Managementreported seven damaged structures in Dale and unincorporated areas of Shawnee.

There were also "numerous injuries" and damaged structures in Wagoner County, officials said.

Homes and other structures were also damaged in communities in Garfield, Grant, Kay, Payne and several other counties in Oklahoma, officials said.

The National Weather Service in Norman said that as of 1:25 a.m. local time Sunday, some tornado warnings had passed but that flash flooding remained a threat.

Bruce Thoren, meteorologist for the agency's Norman branch, said teams will go out to the Marietta and Sulphur areas while others may be sent elsewhere through the week.

At least 5 people, including infant, dead after night of tornadoes, storms in the Midwest (2)

"We are aware of other places that received damage, but based on travel time and other factors they will be looked at in days to come, probably not today," Thoren said. "The area that we cover is pretty large compared to other forecast offices, so to travel down and back could be up to four hours. So we’ll for sure get there, and we know there’s damage — just trying to figure out where we go today."Oklahoma Gas and Electric Co. said early Sunday about 28,000 customers were without service as a result of the storms, primarily in southern Oklahoma.

The Oklahoma Transportation Department warned early Sunday that I-35 was closed in both directions in Love County because of storm damage cleanup.

More than 30 million people in Oklahoma City; Dallas; Wichita, Kansas; Omaha, Nebraska; Milwaukee; and Madison, Wisconsin, were in the path of severe weather Saturday.

This round of severe weather arrived even as parts of Nebraska and Iowa were still reeling from the damage caused by two tornadoes that struck the region.

Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert said Saturday that no deaths had been reported and that there were relatively few minor injuries.

Despite heavy damage to some residents' homes, including those belonging to three Omaha firefighters and two police commanders, officials Saturday were grateful it wasn't worse.Speaking at an afternoon news conference, Stothert said she planned to sign an emergency declaration, which would allow residents to tap state and federal recovery aid.

She credited the National Weather Service and local news media for warning the public about the tornadoes.

"I do want to thank our local forecasters for the clear and accurate warnings that they gave," she said. "I absolutely feel that this early warning, because of all of you, you prevented a lot of injury and probably death."

Lindsay Huse, health director for Douglas County, where Omaha is located, said by email that fewer than two dozen people suffered minor injuries. They were treated at medical facilities and have been released, she said.

"That's just miraculous," Huse said earlier at the news conference.

At least 5 people, including infant, dead after night of tornadoes, storms in the Midwest (3)

The National Weather Service assessed two tornadoes that struck the Omaha area Friday afternoon. One started in the area of Lincoln and ended up in western Douglas County, NWS meteorologist Chris Franks said at the news conference.It was preliminarily assessed at a "solid" EF3 on the 0-5 scale used by federal forecasters, he said. An EF3 tornado can produce sustained winds of 136-165 mph and shift homes off their foundations while peeling away exterior walls.

At Omaha Eppley Airfield, a tornado preliminarily assessed at EF2 struck Friday afternoon, Franks said. An EF2 tornado can produce sustained winds of 111-135 mph that can partly peel away rooftops and breach window glass.

Tornado activity was also reported in neighboring Iowa. Franks estimated that 80 tornadoes were reported in Douglas County and adjacent communities in Nebraska and Iowa on Friday.

In Lancaster County, Nebraska, a tornado was blamed for a train derailment and a semitruck rollover, according to National Weather Service notes on Friday's vortexes.

Omaha Police Lt. Neal Bonacci said hundreds of homes were damaged, most of them in the Elkhorn area in the western part of the city.

“You definitely see the path of the tornado,” Bonacci said.

Police and firefighters went door to door to help residents and search areas where people could be trapped, Omaha Fire Chief Kathy Bossman said.

"We’ll be looking throughout properties in debris piles, we’ll be looking in basem*nts, trying to find any victims and make sure everybody is rescued who needs assistance," Bossman said.

Pat Woods, who lives in Elkhorn, told The Associated Press that he and his wife took shelter but could hear the tornado "coming through."

"When we came up, our fence was gone, and we looked to the northwest and the whole neighborhood’s gone," he said.

His wife, Kim Woods, said the neighborhood to the north of them was "pretty flattened."

At least 5 people, including infant, dead after night of tornadoes, storms in the Midwest (4)

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds declared a disaster emergency for Pottawattamie County after video on social media showed parts of Minden, about 30 miles northeast of Omaha, completely flattened.Jeff Theulen, the chief deputy of the Pottawattamie County Sheriff’s Office, said at a news conference Friday evening that 40 or 50 homes were "completely destroyed." There have been two reports of injuries, one "fairly severe but not life-threatening," he told reporters.

By Sunday, officials estimated that the storms had damaged 300 homes and businesses in the county, Pottawattamie County said in a release. In the city of Minden, 48 homes were "completely destroyed."

Pottawattamie County added in the release that four people sustained storm-related injuries. Three were treated and released Friday evening. The fourth, who was previously listed as stable in critical condition, died overnight Saturday.

"It's very dangerous right now. We've shut off entrance to the city except for the people that live here," he said, noting that "50% of the town is damaged badly and then there’s light damage everywhere else."

In nearby Shelby County, about 40 homes were damaged, county emergency coordinator Alex Londo said. Officials were assessing the destruction, he said, noting there have been no reports of deaths.

National Weather Service offices surveyed damage ahead of more severe weather expected Saturday.

At least 5 people, including infant, dead after night of tornadoes, storms in the Midwest (5)

The service reported 106 tornadoes Friday in Nebraska, Iowa, Texas, Kansas and Missouri. Another tornado was reported Friday morning in Pottawatomie County, Oklahoma.Oklahoma was also affected by the unstable air and thunderstorms that marched eastward Friday, but the weather service listed no confirmed tornadoes in the state.

Among Friday's tornadoes getting a preliminary assessment by the weather service were two near Waco, Texas — one believed to be at EF2 strength — and the other assessed at EF1 (86-110 mph).

Minyvonne Burke

Minyvonne Burkeis a senior breaking news reporter for NBC News.

Kathryn Prociv

Kathryn Prociv is a senior meteorologist and producer for NBC News.

Christine Rapp

Christine Rapp is a meteorologist for NBC News.

Dennis Romero

Dennis Romero is a breaking news reporter for NBC News Digital.

Yuliya Talmazan

Yuliya Talmazan is a reporter for NBC News Digital, based in London.

Rebecca Cohen

Rebecca Cohen is a breaking news reporter for NBC News.

The Associated Press


Cristian Santana


Doha Madani


Marissa Parra



At least 5 people, including infant, dead after night of tornadoes, storms in the Midwest (2024)


What are 5 facts about tornadoes? ›

It is not uncommon to see clear, sunlit skies behind a tornado.
  • Tornadoes cause an average of 70 fatalities and 1,500 injuries in the U.S. each year.
  • The strongest tornadoes have rotating winds of more than 250 mph.
  • Tornadoes can be more than one mile wide and stay on the ground for over 50 miles.

How many people died during the Tri State tornado? ›

The storm completely destroyed a number of towns and caused 695 deaths. The tornado materialized about 1:00 pm local time in Ellington, Missouri.

Which states 5 have the highest number of tornadoes in the US? ›

The ten states with the most tornadoes in the US are Texas, Mississippi, Kansas, Alabama, Louisiana, Illinois, Iowa, Georgia, Oklahoma, and Nebraska.

How many people died in the Joplin tornado? ›


How big is a 5 tornado? ›

The Fujita Scale
The Fujita Scale of Tornado Intensity
F-Scale NumberIntensity PhraseWind Speed
F3Severe tornado158-206 mph
F4Devastating tornado207-260 mph
F5Incredible tornado261-318 mph
4 more rows

What are 5 facts about hurricanes for kids? ›

  • Hurricanes are giant tropical storms that produce heavy rainfall and super-strong winds.
  • Hurricanes form over warm ocean waters near the equator. ...
  • Hurricanes rotate around a circular centre called the “eye“, where it is generally calm with no clouds. ...
  • Most hurricanes occur harmlessly out at sea.

What was the deadliest tornado? ›

Deadliest single tornado in US history

The Tri-State tornado of March 18, 1925, killed 695 people in Missouri (11), Illinois (613), and Indiana (71).

What was the longest tornado? ›

Tornado: Longest-Lasting/Greatest Distance Traveled Single Tornado
Record Value352.4 km (219 mi.) / 3 ½ hours duration
Date of Event18/3/1925
Geospatial LocationEllington, Missouri to Princeton Indiana

How to survive a tornado? ›

Go to the basem*nt or an inside room without windows on the lowest floor (bathroom, closet, center hallway). If possible, avoid sheltering in any room with windows. For added protection get under something sturdy (a heavy table or workbench). Cover your body with a blanket, sleeping bag or mattress.

Where is Tornado Alley in 2024? ›

Tornado Alley has roared back to life, a major shift from recent years when twisters favored the Gulf Coast states and Tennessee Valley. The majority of tornadoes in 2024 have touched down in Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas. Ohio has also experienced a surge in tornadoes, with 54 reports so far.

What state has never had a tornado? ›

Tornadoes have been documented in every U.S. state (not including the non-state territories of Guam, the Virgin Islands, American Samoa, and Puerto Rico) at least once since 1950, although some regions and states are hit by tornadoes far more than others.

What state ranks #1 in tornadoes? ›

U.S. Tornado Index State Rank
RankTornado Index ▼State / Population
1.363.83Oklahoma / 3,818,851
2.280.40Mississippi / 2,984,345
3.272.21Arkansas / 2,947,036
4.265.56Indiana / 6,542,411
47 more rows

Has there ever been an F6? ›

After viewing the aerial photos of the storm damage in Xenia, Fujita officially rated the tornado as an F6. This was the second and last time that a tornado was rated as an F6. The other F6 tornado occurred in Lubbock, Texas in 1970.

When was the last F5 tornado? ›

That happened to 22 homes in Joplin, Missouri, during the deadly May 2011 tornado an EF5 rating, according to a comprehensive damage survey published in 2012. After the May 20, 2013, Moore, Oklahoma, tornado, the National Weather Service rated the virtually destroyed Briarwood Elementary School as EF5 damage.

Is a brick house safe in a tornado? ›

Brick structures, thanks to their robust composition, provide a higher level of protection against these twisters. Their ability to endure impacts from flying debris and their innate ability to absorb energy make them a reliable choice for areas prone to tornadoes.

What is the best fact about tornadoes? ›

Tornadoes are born within supercell thunderstorms, an anvil-shaped cloud with a rotating updraft called a mesocyclone. As an extremely rare weather event, only one in thousands of storms yields a supercell thunderstorm. One in five or six supercells, though, produces a tornado.

What is an amazing fact about tornadoes? ›

Learn about one of nature's most powerful forces!

2) The winds of a tornado can reach speeds of up to 480km per hour – that's strong enough to peel the roofs off houses, uproot trees and hurl heavy objects, such as cars, hundreds of metres! 3) Tornadoes come in different shapes and sizes.

What is a tornado in 5 sentences? ›

Tornado - A violently rotating column of air touching the ground, usually attached to the base of a thunderstorm. Tornadoes are nature"s most violent storms. Spawned from powerful thunderstorms, tornadoes can cause fatalities and devastate a neighborhood in seconds. Winds of a tornado may reach 300 miles per hour.

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