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EL RENO, Okla. (AP) — The Latest on tornadoes that touched down in Oklahoma (all times local):
The National Weather Service says a tornado touched down in the Tulsa area overnight, damaging structures, uprooting trees and toppling power lines.
Pete Snyder with the weather service said Sunday that officials had confirmed that a tornado caused damage in the Tulsa suburb of Sapulpa and surrounding areas.
Snyder says crews are assessing the damage to determine the tornado’s strength. He says the area also experienced damage from straight-line winds that officials say exceeded 80 mph (129 kilometers per hour).
The tornado was spawned by a powerful storm system that rolled through the state and occurred not long after another tornado killed two people and injured 29 others in El Reno, about 25 miles (40 kilometers) west of Oklahoma City.
An apparent tornado has downed trees and power lines and heavily damaged some businesses in a suburb of Tulsa, Oklahoma.
The apparent twister struck Sapulpa early Sunday morning, not long after another tornado killed two people and injured 29 others in El Reno, a city 110 miles southwest of Sapulpa and about 25 miles west of Oklahoma City.
The Sapulpa Police Department said on its Facebook page that it hadn’t heard of anyone being killed there and that only a few people had reported minor injuries. Damage was also reported in other area communities.
Many roads were closed, including parts of the Creek Turnpike, where the Oklahoma Highway Patrol says power lines came down across the roadway.
Raymond Beck, who owns a memorabilia shop in Sapulpa, told the Tulsa World he was in his store when the storm hit.
He says, „Stuff was flying everywhere. It sounded like a real high-pitched whistle to me. I knew I had to get away from the windows.”
Authorities say two people were killed and more than two dozen were injured when a tornado destroyed a motel and swept through a nearby mobile home park west of Oklahoma City.
El Reno Mayor Matt White said at a Sunday news conference that 29 people were taken to hospitals with injuries ranging from minor to critical.
Rick Smith, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Norman, says the twister hit El Reno, which is about 25 miles (40 kilometers) west of Oklahoma City, late Saturday night as a powerful storm system rolled through the state.
White says authorities have accounted for everyone at the motel but are still searching the mobile home park. He says there’s about a 2-mile (3.2-kilometer) path of damage and that, „People have absolutely lost everything.”
The weather service gave the twister a preliminary rating of EF-2, which would mean it had wind speeds of 111-135 mph (179-217 kph).
Officials say two people have died after a likely tornado destroyed a motel and swept through a nearby mobile home park in the Oklahoma City area.
El Reno Mayor Matt White said during a news conference Sunday that „there have been two fatalities at this point in time.” He said officials are working to notify relatives.
White said search and rescue efforts are continuing.
The National Weather Service says a likely tornado caused damage. Meteorologist Rick Smith in Norman says the suspected twister hit El Reno on Saturday night as a powerful storm system rolled through the state. Smith says crews will assess the damage on Sunday to determine the severity.
The American Budget Value Inn was destroyed by the storm. Trailers at the Skyview Estates mobile home park adjacent to the motel also were damaged.
The National Weather Service says a likely tornado has destroyed a motel and caused other damage in the Oklahoma City area.
Meteorologist Rick Smith in Norman says the suspected twister hit El Reno on Saturday night as a powerful storm system rolled through the state. Smith says crews will assess the damage on Sunday to determine the severity.
The American Budget Value Inn was destroyed by the storm. Video at the scene showed emergency crews sifting through the rubble after part of the motel’s second story collapsed. Trailers at a mobile home park adjacent to the motel were also damaged.
There were no immediate reports of injuries.
A powerful, EF3 tornado killed at least two people, destroyed a motel and devastated a mobile home park in the Oklahoma City suburb of El Reno overnight as severe weather continued to threaten the nation’s middle section Sunday.
Twenty-nine people were injured, some critically, and a search and rescue effort was underway in areas reduced to rubble, El Reno Mayor Matt White said Sunday. He said language barriers and other issues made the number of people unaccounted for unclear.
„It’s a pretty devastating sight,” White said. „It is very traumatic. We are all hands on deck.”
The National Weather Service rated the tornado as an EF3 on the Enhanced Fujita Scale, about 75 yards wide at its widest point and on the ground for 2.2 miles. An EF3 tornado can drive winds of up to 165 mph.
The Midwest has been hammered by scores of tornadoes and heavy storms in recent days, leaving at least nine dead and a trail of damage from high winds and flooding. And the weather pattern isn’t expected to change soon.
„The overall weather pattern that has been in place across the U.S. will continue early this week, which will bring more rounds of severe weather to the Plains,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Brett Rathbun said.
Saturday’s tornado was spawned by a powerful storm system rolling through the state. The tornado cranked up at about 10:28 pm and lasted only 4 minutes, the weather service said. White said tornado sirens were sounded at 10:27 p.m.
The American Budget Value Inn was destroyed, and images at the scene showed emergency crews sifting through the rubble after part of the motel’s second story collapsed into a pile of debris.
Mobile homes in the Skyview Estates mobile home park adjacent to the motel were damaged, as was part of a nearby car dealership, White said.
The scene was „horrific,” he said. „Decimated.”
Elton Garrison, 32, said his parents called him from Skyview after the storm and said they were trapped in their home with two of his children, 9 and 12. Garrison, who lives less than a mile away, arrived to see another trailer sitting on top of his parents’ home.
Garrison went to the home and was able to clear enough debris to free the family.
“My main emotion was fear. I couldn’t get them out of there quick enough.”
He said he had heard the sirens but thought little of it.
“We hear them all the time here, so it didn’t seem like a big deal,” Garrison said. „I heard a lot of rain with the wind. But when it kinda got calm all of a sudden, that’s when it didn’t feel right.”
The weather service’s Storm Prediction Center warned that a moderate risk for severe thunderstorms will continue Sunday evening across the central high plains. Conditions are expected to weaken overnight, but wind gusts may pose a threat as the storm moves toward the middle Missouri Valley.
And more could be coming: Forecasters warned that conditions are ripe for more severe weather at least through month’s end.
Meteorologists are predicting residents along parts of the Arkansas River will see the worst flooding in recorded history this week. The river near Fort Smith on Sunday surpassed a crest set in 1945.
In El Reno, Saturday’s tornado came just days after the town was hit by widespread flooding.
„Pray for our community,” White said. „We’ve been through a lot lately.”
Contributing: The Associated Press
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Powerful EF3 tornado kills 2, injures 29 in Oklahoma town recovering from flooding
TULSA, Okla. (AP) — Officials on Saturday warned some Tulsa residents to prepare to head to higher ground because old levees holding back the swollen Arkansas River are stressed and more rain is expected for the flood-weary region.
The river was four feet above flood stage on Friday and was already causing flooding in parts of Oklahoma’s second-largest city, including in south Tulsa where the murky brown water had inundated low-lying neighborhoods and crept right up to the River Spirit Hotel and Casino, which closed for the weekend.
City officials said at a news conference Saturday that people living west of downtown should consider leaving for higher ground, even though the levees aren’t currently considered to be in danger of failing. If an evacuation becomes necessary, it would need to happen quickly, they said.
Mayor G.T. Bynum said the levees were built in the 1940s and haven’t had to hold back this much water since 1986. Officials also said they don’t expect the river to recede in Tulsa until Wednesday at the earliest, pushing back their initial estimate by three days.
„The level of risk you have in staying there is very high,” Bynum said. „That’s an unnecessary risk.”
About 55 miles (89 kilometers) southeast of Tulsa, the small town of Braggs was completely surrounded by water and without power, according to Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management spokeswoman Keli Cain.
Cain said it’s not clear how many of the town’s approximately 260 residents evacuated before the flooding, but water rescue teams deployed to assist there, as well as in other areas of Muskogee, Wagoner, Rogers and Nowata counties.
Officials in Muskogee and Wagoner counties urged voluntary evacuations of low-lying areas along the Arkansas River, where water could be seen up to roofs, as well as along the rising Verdigris River.
Cain said across the state, 87 people have been injured in the flooding, which has not yet peaked.
Storms have buffeted the central Plains and Midwest all spring, inundating the ground and leaving rain with nowhere to go but into already bloated waterways. The region’s most recent spate of bad weather and flooding has been blamed for at least nine deaths.
Downriver in northwestern Arkansas, between 100 and 200 residents had already evacuated their homes in the state’s second-largest city of Fort Smith, which is about 100 miles (160 kilometers) southeast of Tulsa. Karen Santos, a spokeswoman for the city of roughly 80,000 people, said at least one house along the river had been completely submerged.
Laurie Driver, a spokeswoman for the Army Corps of Engineers, said the increased release of floodwater from upriver dams would affect Arkansas’ levee systems, which also haven’t been tested for as much water as is expected.
„When you’re in territory you’ve never been in before, you’re not sure if the levees are going to be breached or not,” Driver said, though she added that most were in „good shape.”
The National Weather Service updated its peak flooding prediction, and said it now expects the river to reach 41 feet (12 meters) near Fort Smith by late Tuesday night. That level would be 3 feet (0.91 meters) higher than its previous record, which was set in 1945. This would cause „near catastrophic flooding” in Fort Smith’s low-lying neighborhoods and business district, it said.
Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson declared a state of emergency Friday night to free up state agencies to do what they can to assist flooded areas.
Additional storms are possible in Arkansas, Oklahoma and Kansas over the next week, according to the latest forecasts.
Authorities have ordered the immediate evacuation of the 150 residents in the small town of Fall River, Kansas, the Wichita Eagle reported . Increased water releases from a dam just north of the town, about 75 miles (121 kilometers) east of Wichita, threaten to inundate the town. Already, buildings downstream from the dam’s reservoir could be seen submerged to their roofs.
In Indiana, officials said Saturday that water levels had dropped slightly on a rain-swollen creek in the north of the state where a 4-year-old boy was swept away Thursday. The boy, Owen Jones, has not been found, though crews were on Deer Creek in Delphi searching for him.
Meanwhile, weak-to-moderate tornadoes touched down Friday in Iowa and Kansas. The one in Iowa flipped some mobile homes and damaged rooftops, trees and outbuildings in and around Frytown, south of Iowa City, but didn’t injure anyone, Cedar Rapids TV station KCRG reported. The weather service said it was an EF-1 tornado, with winds of 110 mph.
The tornado also disrupted Iowa City West High School’s graduation ceremony Friday evening, forcing students, their families and staff to seek shelter inside the Carver-Hawkeye Arena as tornado warnings sounded.
In Kansas, an EF-0 twister damaged trees near Douglass, in the southeast of the state, Television station KWCH reports. No one was injured.
JAKARTA (Reuters) – A volcano erupted on the Indonesian holiday island of Bali, causing some overnight flight cancellations to and from Australia as an ash cloud rose into the sky, officials said on Saturday.
Mount Agung volcano spewed out lava and showers of rocks over a distance of about 3 km (2 miles), with ash falling over dozens of villages, officials said. There were no reports of casualties.
Flights, run by Qantas Airways, JetStar and Virgin Airlines, were operating normally on Saturday.
Authorities had 50,000 masks available as a precaution though the alert level on the volcano remained unchanged and there had been no evacuations.
Photographs of Agung overnight showed an ash column and glowing lava in the crater of the volcano, which rises majestically over eastern Bali at a height of just over 3,000 meters.
In late 2017, authorities raised the alert level on Agung after a spike in activity, triggering evacuations and travel chaos at the time. The alert level has since been lowered but the rumbling Agung has erupted intermittently since then occasionally disrupting flights.
A major eruption in 1963 killed more than 1,000 people and razed several villages
Bali, famous for its surf, beaches and temples, attracts around 5 million visitors a year.
(Reporting by Agustinus Beo Da Costa and Bali stringer; Writing by Ed Davies; Editing by Nick Macfie)
PHOTOS: The D-Day Landing Beaches Yahoo News Photo Staff•Sun rises over the remains of a section of the World War II Allied temporary Mulberry harbor built for the D-Day invasion, on what was known as Gold Beach, on May 01, 2019 in Arromanches, on the Normandy coast, France. (Photo: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)June 6, 2019, will mark the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion, in which the allied forces of the U.S., British, Canadian, French and troops from other nationalities landed at beaches along the Normandy coastline to begin their push to liberate France from Nazi occupation during World War II. (Getty Images)Photos were taken using a panoramic film camera.Photography by Dan Kitwood/Getty ImagesSee more news-related photo galleries and follow us on Yahoo News Photo Twitter and Tumblr.The remains of a German defense bunker along a section of what was known as ‘Gold Beach’ on April 30, 2019 in Ver-sur-Mer, on the Normandy coast, France. (Photo: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)The remains of a German defense bunker on ‘Juno Beach’ that would have been used during the June 6, 1944 D-Day landings, on April 30, 2019 in Courseulles-sur-Mer, on the Normandy coast, France. (Photo: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)The remains of a German defense bunker along a section of what was known as ‘Gold Beach’ that would have been used during the June 6, 1944 D-Day landings, on April 30, 2019 in Ver-sur-Mer, on the Normandy coast, France. (Photo: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)The tide retreats along a section of what was known as ‘Gold Beach’ during the D-Day landings, on April 30, 2019 in Ver-sur-Mer, on the Normandy coast, France. (Photo: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)The remains of a German defense bunker on ‘Juno Beach’ that would have been used during the June 6, 1944 D-Day landings, on April 30, 2019 in Courseulles-sur-Mer, on the Normandy coast, France. (Photo: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)A stretch of sand that was known as ‘Omaha Beach’ during the D-Day landings on June 6, 1944, on April 29, 2019 in Colleville-sur-Mer, on the Normandy coast, France. (Photo: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)The remains of a German defense bunker along a section of what was known as ‘Gold Beach’ that would have been used during the June 6, 1944 D-Day landings, on April 30, 2019 in Ver-sur-Mer, on the Normandy coast, France. (Photo: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)Sun rises over the remains of a section of the World War II Allied temporary Mulberry harbor built for the D-Day invasion, on what was known as Gold Beach, on May 1, 2019 in Arromanches, on the Normandy coast, France. (Photo: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
Beirut (AFP) – Lebanese security forces on Saturday denied accusations by rights groups that they had coerced Syrians who had landed at Beirut airport into signing forms to return to their war-torn country.
Human Rights Watch and four other groups Friday accused Lebanon of „summarily deporting” at least 16 Syrians on April 26, after forcing them to sign „voluntary repatriation forms”.
Most of them had been sent back to Lebanon after they were barred from entering northern Cyprus via Turkey, quashing their plans to seek asylum, HRW said.
But Lebanon’s General Security agency „categorically denies it forced any Syrian to sign any form”, it said in a statement carried by state-run news agency NNA on Saturday.
„Any Syrian who arrives in Lebanon and does not meet entry requirements, and… wants to go to Syria because they do not wish to remain in their country of residence for a number of reasons, signs a declaration of responsibility for choosing to return voluntarily,” it said.
Lebanon hosts almost one million Syrian refugees, a significant burden for a country that had 4.5 million inhabitants before the Syrian civil war erupted in 2011.
The latest deportees said they were „pressured” by General Security officers at the airport, the rights group said.
Around 30 Syrians have been deported from Beirut airport this year by the General Security agency, the rights group said, citing local refugee organisations.
General Security estimates that over 170,000 Syrians returned home from Lebanon between December 2017 and March 2019.
The conflict has wound down in Syria, after a string of victories by the regime and its Russian ally since 2015, but the United Nations has stressed all returns should be voluntary.
The rights groups say some 74 percent of Syrians in Lebanon lack legal residency and are at risk of detention.
Local media in Lebanon have reported that the Supreme Defence Council, whose decisions are not made public, recently instructed General Security to deport all Syrians who have entered the country illegally.
The official NNA news agency, quoting a „security report”, said Friday that Lebanese authorities had deported 301 Syrians between May 7 and May 20.
Syria’s war has killed more than 370,000 people and displaced millions inside the country and abroad.
The war was triggered in March 2011 by a violent crackdown on anti-government demonstrations.