At least 3 dead in Oklahoma as tornadoes, storms hit Central U.S.

At least three people died in Oklahoma after powerful storms, including tornadoes, roared through the Central U.S. late Wednesday, leaving behind significant destruction, officials said.

The deaths occurred in Cole, Okla., State Sen. Jessica Garvin told the Oklahoman after visiting the town of about 600 people Wednesday night.

“It was extremely dark, but even at night I could see the scope of the devastation was shocking,” Garvin said Thursday. “I’d ask for all Oklahomans to please pray for those impacted throughout the state, especially for the families of those who were killed, those injured in the storm and those who have been displaced.”

“A good portion” of Cole, located 30 miles south of Oklahoma City, was affected by the wicked weather, McClain County Deputy Sheriff Scott Gibbons said Thursday on NBC’s “Today” show.

“With Oklahoma we’re used to tornadoes to some degree, but each time we experience this, it never gets easier,” Gibbons explained.

An airport in nearby Shawnee, Okla., also sustained damage, as did the city’s Oklahoma Baptist University.

“We do not have [the exact] number of homes or businesses damaged, but we do know that significant damage occurred,” an Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management spokesman said.

More than more than 23,000 households lost electricity at one point in Oklahoma, where power lines and trees went down during the storm. Kansas and Iowa also went under weather-related warnings Wednesday night.

More extreme weather is forecast for Thursday night. The National Weather Service warns that parts of Oklahoma, Texas, Iowa, Missouri and Nebraska could experience large hail, severe wind and tornadoes.

Wednesday’s storms are the latest catastrophic weather in the U.S. this spring. More than 20 people died in March from a tornado in Mississippi, and more than 30 people died in early April from storms between Arkansas and Delaware. Five more people died from a tornado in Missouri this month.

With News Wire Services