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Tornadoes strike Central US; Oklahoma towns devastated by twister

1 fatality reported in Barnsdall, Oklahoma.
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Posted at 4:21 AM, May 07, 2024

The National Weather Service said there were 16 unconfirmed reports of tornadoes touching down throughout the Central U.S. on Monday after forecasters issued the highest possible risk for the region.

One of the largest tornadoes on Monday struck Barnsdall, Oklahoma, where a fatality was reported. The northeast Oklahoma town of just over 1,000 residents took a direct hit from a massive tornado. The Barnsdall Nursing Home posted on Facebook that the facility took a direct hit in this storm and asked for prayers. No one was injured at the nursing home.

In nearby Bartlesville, rescuers had to pull trapped individuals out of a Hampton Inn hotel. There was also significant damage reported in residential areas in northeast Bartlesville and medical facilities near Jane Phillips Hospital. Only minor injuries were reported in Bartlesville as of early Tuesday morning.

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In addition to likely twisters in Oklahoma, tornadoes were reported in Missouri, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, South Dakota and Tennessee on Monday. The National Weather Service will send survey crews out in the coming days to confirm the tornadoes.

The National Weather Service's Storm Prediction Center placed a rare "high risk" of severe weather in areas of Kansas and Oklahoma on Monday. It was the first time in over a year that government forecasters had placed any region of the U.S. under such a risk.

Although severe weather is expected to continue as the storm system moves east, it is not expected to be as widespread. The Storm Prediction Center placed much of Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio under an "enhanced risk" of severe weather, which is a Level 3 on the agency's 0-5 rating. Forecasters warn that the system can still produce large and damaging tornadoes in the Ohio Valley.

"The potential hazards associated with these thunderstorms are frequent lightning, severe thunderstorm wind gusts, hail, and a few tornadoes. There is also a heightened threat of EF2 to EF5 tornadoes and hail two inches or greater over the area," the National Weather Service said.

Wednesday also will provide an enhanced risk of severe weather from northeast Texas all the way to eastern Kentucky.