Residents of the central Plain states are dealing with floods and tornado damage. Because of high water, the Oklahoma Department of Transportation shut down Interstate 40 in El Reno, about 25 miles west of Oklahoma City. The National Weather Service estimates that at least 5 inches of rain has fallen since Monday.
An intense storm system moved across the southern Plains on Monday, spawning tornadoes that caused scattered damage and a deluge of rain but not the “particularly dangerous” twisters that forecasters had feared.
Late Monday, the National Weather Service reduced the severe threat of violent storms to a small area of southern Oklahoma and northern Texas. But it kept an area stretching from Tulsa, Oklahoma, to Wichita Falls, Texas, under tornado watch—the level of threat just below a tornado warning—until 5 a.m. CDT Tuesday morning. Multiple funnel clouds were spotted in the region.
The biggest threat overnight appeared to be flash flooding from torrential rains that accompanied the storms, forecasters said. Heavy rainfall hit the Tulsa, Oklahoma area, and many vehicles got stuck on flooded streets.
The National Weather Service had warned that Monday evening could bring perilous weather to a large swath of western Texas, most of Oklahoma, and southern Kansas. In El Reno and Stillwater, home to Oklahoma State University about 55 miles northeast of Oklahoma City, emergency responders rescued people from their homes.
In Deer Creek, about a 1.5-hour drive north of Oklahoma City, resident Steve Cline shared his storm experience with KOCO-TV saying, “Well, at daylight this morning we looked up and noticed the waters came up so we knew it was going to be bad.” And how he rescued his five horses saying, “I had to lead them through the water up to their belly.”
Other people in the state are cleaning up from tornadoes and powerful winds. The weather service Storm Prediction Center website listed 37 reports of tornadoes on Tuesday in Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska.
Sherry Dyke from Oklahoma shared her storm experiences with KOCO-TV and said, “I been through a lot of tornadoes. I never been in one so close,” and “When I turned this way, I couldn’t tell what direction I was going anymore because stuff was just flying around. Everything was turned around. And nothing was right.”
Includes reporting from The Associated Press and KOCO-TV.