On Wednesday (April 19), News 9 reported that nearly twelve tornadoes struck the United States, causing severe storms across Iowa, Kansas, and Oklahoma. The latter state was hit the hardest with eight confirmed tornadoes, leaving the town of Cole, Oklahoma, located about 30 miles south of Oklahoma City, in a state of emergency.
According to Axios, Cole was hit by a large and extremely dangerous tornado moving at a speed of 30 miles per hour, which caused significant damage to property, left thousands without power, and resulted in at least three casualties, as reported by AccuWeather.
As of Thursday afternoon, around 16,000 homes and businesses in Oklahoma were still without power. This severe weather event marked the deadliest tornado day in Oklahoma since 2013. CNN warns that the danger is not over yet, as more than 50 million people from Texas to Wisconsin remain at risk of experiencing rain, hail, severe winds, flash flooding, and even more tornadoes on Thursday.
NBC News Chicago has reported that a storm is expected to move into Chicago on Thursday afternoon and evening. Meanwhile, the National Weather Service in Fort Worth, Texas, has warned that “scattered strong to severe storms” may develop in Texas on Thursday, with large hail and damaging winds posing the main threats. Given the severity of these weather conditions, several airlines including United Airlines, American Airlines, and Southwest Airlines, have issued travel waivers for the affected areas.
“Last night, severe weather devastated parts of Shawnee & Cole and three of our fellow Oklahomans lost their lives,” Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt tweeted. “As we come together in prayer for all those affected, we’re working diligently to assess the damage and restore our communities.”