Authorities said that a number of deadly tornadoes raced across Oklahoma, killing at least two people.
On Wednesday evening, there were 15 recorded tornadoes, tennis ball-sized hail, devastating straight-line winds, and hurricane-force storms. 84 mph gusts were measured in Pottawottamie County, Oklahoma. Aid organizations were scrambling to build up shelters as the storms tore up roads and wrecked homes.
Without providing further information, officials stated that “two fatalities” had occurred and that “crews are responding to reported injuries & persons entrapped within their shelters.”
The regional tornado outbreak manifested on a day when forecasters weren’t even certain storms would form, particularly affecting areas south of Oklahoma City. A warm “cap” or lid of air was observed at a height of 3,000 feet. That succeeded in keeping surface air pockets from rising and developing into storms.
But in the late afternoon, the cap cracked, releasing the atmosphere’s stored up instability.
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Baseball-sized hail was dropped in Chickasha and Amber by a number of rotating supercell thunderstorms that developed along the H.E. Bailey Turnpike to the southwest of the Oklahoma City metropolitan area.
A second supercell flew over the University of Oklahoma in Norman, resembling a revolving, floating birthday cake with tiers made of warm, wet air spiraling upward. Storm Prediction Center and local National Weather Service forecasters took pictures of the storm from their homes and neighborhoods.
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