Storms pummel central US; tornadoes kill at least 2

The storm struck about 7:15 p.m. a subdivision south of Elk City, Oklahoma, almost 110 miles west of Oklahoma City. It was not immediately known if there were injuries.

Tornados touched down in Texas, Oklahoma and Wisconsin on Tuesday (May 16) leaving a trail of destruction in their path, local media reported.

By evening, the National Weather Service listed almost 20 reports of tornadoes from Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska and Wisconsin, although some of those could be multiple reports of the same tornado.

A tornado also ripped through a mobile home park near the northwestern Wisconsin city of Chetek, about 110 miles northeast of Minneapolis. "And so I would say there was probably six to eight trailers in a row but there's nothing there but debris", said the sheriff for Barron County, Chris Fitzgerald.

At least one person, a 46-year-old male, was killed and an estimated 25 others were injured by a severe storm, including a tornado.

"There was a little voice in my head that said we need to leave, and we got out just in time", said Dale Dailey, who lives in the area where the tornado hit.

Fitzgerald says the National Weather Service still has to confirm it was tornado that hit the area.

"An outbreak of severe thunderstorms with tornadoes, very large hail and wind damage is expected to develop across parts of the southern and central Plains from this afternoon into this evening and overnight".

More than 27 people were injured in all and 17 of them were taken by ambulances to hospitals.

The weather service says the twister packed winds of 120 to 130 miles per hour, or even slightly stronger, when it hit the trailer park near Chetek on Tuesday evening.

"This was a super cell that developed, a discreet storm", he said Tuesday night. The Wisconsin Department of Emergency Management said about 40 trailers were destroyed, while 50 to 60 homes occupied the park, the sheriff said.

"I thought we were done", said Tyson.

Mark Tyson said the couple's truck was crushed and their Lincoln was tossed upside down, but somehow their motor home parked next to their trailer suffered minimal damage.

"Our rapid response assessors are in Elk City and nearby storm-affected areas, and we are going to continue to follow the storms", Sam Porter, director of Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief, told KOCO-TV.

Elk City Public Schools were canceled for Wednesday, the school system said in a statement. In 2011, when devastating tornadoes struck in Joplin, Missouri, and in Alabama and MS, 111 of the 551 people killed nationwide in tornadoes, or 20 percent, were in mobile homes, according to the Storm Prediction Center.

Chetek Mayor Jeff Martin tells KSTP-TV that numerous emergency vehicles have gone to the trailer park. More storms are possible later in the day in the lower Great Lakes region.

One of the tornadoes that touched down during storms that barreled through a large swath of the central US destroyed about 20 homes in central Kansas.

  • Larry Hoffman