Midwest State Ravaged by Deadly Tornadoes

(TargetDailyNews.com) – Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt declared a state of emergency after numerous tornadoes swept through central Oklahoma on April 27th and 28th, killing at least four people. A baby is among the dead, and the number missing is not yet known.

At least one of the twisters measured EF 4 on the Enhanced Fujita scale. This is the second strongest tornado category, meaning that winds may have reached 170 miles per hour. The National Weather Service says the cities of Marietta and Sulphur were hit by tornadoes of at least EF 3 strength, which means winds ranged from 136 to 165 miles per hour. Both cities count at least one of their own among the dead; the baby who was killed lived in the city of Holdenville.

According to the state’s health department, at least 100 people have been taken to the hospital for their injuries.

Gov. Stitt said the devastation was the worst he has seen since taking the governor’s office in 2019, calling the damage in downtown Sulphur “unbelievable.”

In addition to directly killing four people, the storms wreaked havoc on towns, infrastructure, and transportation. Downed trees cut off highway routes and at least 43,000 people lost power according to the state’s electrical utilities. While the power losses happened statewide, the highest number occurred in seven counties, including Tulsa and Seminole.

While all tornadoes are dangerous, wind speed matters. Twisters that reach the EF 4 stage can destroy solid buildings, throw cars and trucks in the air, and leave behind nothing but a concrete slab as buildings are blown away. Nighttime tornadoes like the EF 4 that hit Marietta are particularly dangerous, as people are sleeping and may not be as responsive to alerts. In addition, night twisters cannot be seen except in glimpses when lightning flashes or winds cause electrical transformers to spark.

The financial toll in Oklahoma is not yet known as cleanup efforts get underway.

The National Weather Service says at least 60 tornadoes plowed through the Midwest in this recent outbreak, the worst of 2024 so far.

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