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Tornado causes damage, one death in Oklahoma – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

A tornado destroyed homes and toppled trees and power lines as it ripped through a small Oklahoma town, one of several to erupt across the central United States amid a series of powerful storms that stretched into Tuesday. At least one death was reported.

The tornado ripped through the 1,000-person town of Barnsdall, about a 40-minute drive north of Tulsa, on Monday evening.

At least 30 to 40 homes in the Barnsdall area were damaged, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol reported, and the state Department of Health said a nursing home was damaged and patients were evacuated. A natural gas leak and numerous road closures due to debris were also reported, according to Osage County Emergency Management.

“We have one confirmed fatality and multiple injuries,” Osage County Sheriff Eddie Virden told KOKI-TV.

Damage was also reported in Bartlesville, about 20 miles (32 kilometers) northeast.

“We took a direct hit from a tornado” in the city, said Kary Fox of Washington County Emergency Management. “Please stay away from the roads. Stay away from the damaged areas. We have a lot of trouble getting in and doing assessments to check on people, to see if they have been injured by the traffic congestion.”

The National Weather Service in Tulsa had warned Monday evening that “a large and life-threatening tornado” was moving toward Barnsdall, packing winds of up to 75 miles per hour. Meteorologist Brad McGavock said information about the size of the tornado and how far it traveled was not immediately available Monday evening.

The storms started earlier Monday with gusty winds and rain. But tornadoes were seen along northern Oklahoma after dark. At some point in the evening, a storm in the small town of Covington had “produced intermittent tornadoes for more than an hour,” according to the National Weather Service. Throughout the area, wind farm turbines were spinning rapidly in the wind and blinding rain.

In Kansas, some areas were pelted by apple-sized hail with a diameter of 3 inches.

The storms tore through Oklahoma as areas including Sulfur and Holdenville were still recovering from a tornado that killed four people and left thousands without power late last month. Both the Plains and the Midwest have been ravaged by tornadoes this spring.

Oklahoma’s State Emergency Operations Center, which is coordinating the storm response from a bunker near the Capitol, remains activated after last weekend’s deadly storms.

Monte Tucker, a farmer and rancher in the western Oklahoma town of Sweetwater, had some of his tractors and heavy equipment stored in sheds Monday to protect them from hail. He said he let his neighbors know they could come to his house if the weather turned dangerous.

“We built a house 10 years ago, and my stubborn wife put her foot down and made sure we built a safe room,” Tucker said. He said the entire ground floor room is built with reinforced concrete walls.

Oklahoma and Kansas are under a high risk weather warning on Monday. The last time such a warning was issued was on March 31, 2023, when a massive storm system tore through parts of the South and Midwest, including Arkansas, Illinois and rural Indiana.

The whole week looks stormy in the US. The eastern US and the south are expected to bear the brunt of the bad weather for the rest of the week, including in Indianapolis, Memphis, Nashville, St. Louis and Cincinnati, cities with more than 21 million people. It should be clear by the weekend.

Meanwhile, floodwaters in the Houston area began receding Monday after days of heavy rains in southeastern Texas flooded neighborhoods and led to hundreds of high-water rescues.