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At least 4 people are dead after tornadoes slam Oklahoma, Iowa and Nebraska

People pick through the rubble of a house that was leveled in Elkhorn, Neb., on Saturday. At least four people were killed by tornadoes.
Nick Ingram
/
AP
People pick through the rubble of a house that was leveled in Elkhorn, Neb., on Saturday. At least four people were killed by tornadoes.

Updated April 28, 2024 at 9:35 PM ET

At least four people were killed and at least 100 were injured after a string of tornadoes barreled through parts of the South and Midwest on Friday and into the weekend.

Recovery efforts are underway after severe weather devastated parts of Oklahoma, Nebraska and Iowa, turning homes and other buildings into heaps of lumber and rubble.

So far, all four people who are confirmed killed were in Oklahoma: one in the town of Sulphur, one man and a child in Holdenville and one near Marietta. KOSU reported that Sulphur's downtown was "essentially leveled" and a Marietta hospital was destroyed.

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt visited Sulphur on Sunday afternoon. "I've seen a lot of damage. But what I saw in downtown Sulphur – it's unbelievable. It seems like every business in downtown has been destroyed," he said, according to KOSU.

One hundred injuries have been reported by hospitals in the state, according to the Oklahoma State Department of Health. At least 30 people were injured in Sulphur, KOCO reported.

The Hughes County, Okla., EMS agency said Sunday morning that it was treating four people for injuries, three of which were major.

Love County Sheriff Andy Cumberledge confirmed in a press conference that a truck driver who was passing through the county was also killed.

Stitt said in a video message posted to X earlier on Sunday that he was praying for Oklahomans and that he had "declared an emergency disaster so we can get all the help that those communities need."

Stitt declared states of emergency in a dozen counties: Carter, Cotton, Garfield, Hughes, Kay, Lincoln, Love, Murray, Okfuskee, Oklahoma, Payne and
Pontotoc.

A swath of Minden, Iowa — a small town roughly 30 miles northeast of Omaha — was leveled by a tornado. Drone footage showed flattened buildings and a trail of debris over a large area.

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds said Saturday that she had declared a disaster emergency for Pottawattamie County, where Minden is located.

The National Weather Service reported that Iowa saw at least a dozen tornadoes on Friday, half of which were rated EF-2, which means they had wind gusts between 111-135 miles per hour.

Homeowners in Bennington, Neb., assess the damage after a tornado passed through their neighborhood northwest of Omaha on Friday.
Josh Funk / AP
/
AP
Homeowners in Bennington, Neb., assess the damage after a tornado passed through their neighborhood northwest of Omaha on Friday.

Parts of nearby Nebraska also suffered serious damage from multiple tornadoes. Gov. Jim Pillen said he declared emergencies in Douglas, Lancaster and Washington counties.

Nebraska Public Media reported that a series tornadoes were confirmed to have hit the Omaha and Lincoln areas, damaging and destroying homes and other structures.

The Ponca Tribe of Nebraska declared a state of emergency on Friday after it reported that thunderstorms and tornadoes inflicted "significant damage" on some of its members and impacted local businesses and public transportation.

Eppley Airfield in Omaha, which temporarily closed when a tornado touched down on Saturday, said four hangar buildings that were storing 32 private planes were destroyed in the storm, but the passenger terminal was unaffected.

Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Deanne Criswell saidover the weekend that she had spoken with officials in Oklahoma, Iowa and Nebraska and offered the agency's support.

The NWS also reported tornadoes over the weekend hitting Missouri, Kansas and Texas.

Copyright 2024 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Joe Hernandez
[Copyright 2024 NPR]

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