Emergency vehicles sit near a partially collapsed building after a tornado touched down in El Reno, Oklahoma, U.S., May 26, 2019 in this still image taken from social media video. Gale Vancampen via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS – THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES. MANDATORY CREDIT
(Reuters) – A tornado devastated a small community near Oklahoma City late on Saturday, killing at least two people and injuring several more, officials said, as a succession of violent storms kept pounding the Central Plain states.
The twister struck El Reno, Oklahoma, at about 10:30 p.m. local time (0330 GMT), turning a hotel and mobile home park into a debris field and sending first responders on a desperate search for survivors, the city’s mayor said.
“It’s a pretty devastating sight,” El Reno Mayor Matt White said on Sunday in a news briefing. “We can tell you right now that we’re assessing everything and we are all hands on deck.”
Calling the damage to his community about 25 miles (40 km) west of Oklahoma City “horrific,” White said an unknown number of people suffered serious injuries and that rescuers had hand-sifted through the rubble during the night in search of others.
The two people killed by the storm were not immediately identified because their next of kin had yet to be notified, the mayor said.
The National Weather Service in Norman, Oklahoma, identified the tornado on its radar late on Saturday in one of several warnings it issued.
It was the latest in a string of violent storms that have raked Central Plains states from the Texas Panhandle north to Iowa, since last week. At least seven people were killed by those storms.
In addition, heavy rainfall over the past week has swollen several rivers, causing flooding and evacuations in Oklahoma and Missouri.
Reporting by Peter Szekely in New York; Editing by Lisa Shumaker