Oklahoma Death Toll Rises to 9 After Tornadoes Hit Region

Oklahoma Death Toll Rises to 9 After Tornadoes Hit Region

Oklahoma Death Toll Rises to 9 After Tornadoes Hit Region


by ABC News


Posted on May 31, 2013 at 9:07 PM

Updated Saturday, Jun 1 at 12:44 PM

OKLAHOMA CITY -- The severe tornadoes that struck Oklahoma City took nine lives, including two children and seven adults, Oklahoma Medical Examiner's office confirmed this morning.

In the aftermath, Oklahoma officials will be surveying the damage left by several twisters and violent weather that swept through the area overnight which flipped trucks on interstate highways during rush hour and left cars in deep floods.

"We haven't had a chance yet for our team to take a look at the damage out there because the flood waters are still keeping us out of the area," Keli Cain with Oklahoma Emergency Management told ABC News Radio.

The National Weather Service initially estimated that five tornadoes touched down in the Oklahoma City area Friday.

Among those who died in the brutal storm were a mother and her baby possibly sucked out of their cars near Interstate 40, Oklahoma Highway Patrol Trooper Betsy Randolph told ABC News.

"We know that the storm picked them up and swept them away," Randolph said. "When the troopers found them, they were both deceased.

"We know that a mother and a child were killed tonight on I-40 in Canadian County," Randolph said. "I cannot stress to you just how important it is that if people don't have to be out, that they stay inside and seek shelter. ... There's just no safe place to be except underground when a tornado is present."

The latest storms hit 11 days after a massive E-5 tornado jolted Moore, Okla., on May 20, killing 24 people, smashing hospitals and schools, and flattening neighborhoods.

Road Congested During Storm

Randolph said the area roads were extremely congested, particularly I-40 and I-35.

"Several spots are impassable whether it's high water or power lines that are down," she said. "We've had multiple crashes, some of which are probably going to be there for a while as we're unable to get wreckers to clear the roadway."

She added that troopers were being told to push vehicles off I-40 to clear the roadway.

Local hospitals reported receiving at least 89 patients, four critical, with three fatalities among them.

Integris Health Southwest, which had three hospitals in the area, reported most of the patients, including the two dead -- the mother and baby from I-40. One of its hospitals also had a baby in critical condition.

Mercy Hospital in El Reno, Okla., reported receiving 13 patients, 1 dead on arrival and two in critical condition.

Oklahoma University Medical Center, the only level 1 trauma center in the state, reported two adult patients whose conditions were unclear. OU also runs The Children's Hospital, where there were six pediatric patients, two transferred from Integris.

The National Weather Service earlier had issued a tornado emergency for the Oklahoma City metropolitan area, including Moore, which is south of the Oklahoma City, amid the massive storm.

RELATED: Tornadoes Suck Mom and Baby Out of Car, Strangers Huddle In Freezers

Gov. Mary Fallin told ABC News Friday evening that there were power outages, flooding and flipped trucks on interstates amid apparent tornados.

"We're real concerned about the people that are on the highways," Fallin said, noting the worst of the storm hit during the evening rush hour.

"It hit during a time when people were getting off work," Fallin said. "They knew the storms where coming in, so people were going home."

"We're seeing, right now, a lot of flooding," Oklahoma Emergency Management spokeswoman Kelli Cain said Friday. "That is a big issue. We're seeing a lot of power issues. ... It's still difficult to assess what damage is out there. We may not have information about that until [Saturday]."

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