(NEW YORK) — At least one person is dead after an Oklahoma town was hit by a large tornado Wednesday night, officials said, as severe weather moves through the region.
McClain County Emergency Management confirmed that a “large and extremely dangerous tornado” was over Cole, Oklahoma, and moving east at 30 mph. The McClain County Sheriff’s Office confirmed at least one death in Cole; no further details were immediately available.
A tornado watch has been issued for portions of six states — Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas — through 11 p.m. CDT Wednesday, the National Weather Service said.
Isolated tornadoes could be possible, especially in an enhanced risk area from Oklahoma City to Wichita Falls.
Cole has been “hit significantly,” Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper Eric Foster said. There are “powerlines down everywhere” and major damage to infrastructure, according to Foster, who said hundreds of first responders are on the scene. He didn’t have immediate information about potential injuries.
On Wednesday night, the McClain County Sheriff’s Office posted on Facebook that it’s responding to “reported injuries & persons entrapped within their shelters,” and that power lines were down and there were outages. McClain County is just south of Oklahoma City.
Huge hail and damaging wind gusts up to 75 mph are also possible as the storm system moves out of the West and into the Plains Wednesday night. An enhanced risk has been issued for areas including Omaha and Lincoln, Nebraska, for very large hail and significant, damaging winds.
By Thursday, the severe weather threat stretches from Austin, Texas, to St. Louis, Missouri. A line of severe storms is forecast to stretch across the region, packing damaging winds and large hail, from mid-afternoon into the overnight hours.
The storms may weaken a bit overnight Thursday as they move toward the Mississippi River and Gulf Coast, but severe activity could extend into Friday morning.
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