Deadly tornado ravages El Reno community in Oklahoma
Emergency vehicles sit near a partially collapsed hotel after a tornado touched down in El Reno, Oklahoma [Gale Vancampen/Reuters]
Storms brought widespread damage to the small community of El Reno, Oklahoma, late on Saturday.
Just before midnight local time, a tornado touched down in the town of 19,000 people.
Tornado warnings were issued only minutes before the tornado touched down and some residents said that the sirens only went off after the tornado had already begun causing damage.
One area that was hit particularly hard was in the southeastern part of El Reno, where a hotel and trailer park took a direct hit.
At least two people have died and an unknown number are still missing. First responders and firefighters have been working overnight to get people out of the “levelled” hotel.
Google News, Bing News, Yahoo News, 200+ publications
It is estimated that 30 people were in the hotel at the time the tornado hit.
After the storms moved through El Reno, they continued through Oklahoma City and Tulsa, where both cities reported additional tornadoes touching down.
El Reno is no stranger to deadly damage from tornadoes. At the end of May 2013, an EF3 tornado tore through the town, killing eight and injuring 151.
The width of that tornado was the widest ever recorded and stayed on the ground for 26 kilometres.
May is normally the most active month in the United States for tornadoes with an average of 276. Just in the last six days, severe storms have spawned 155 tornadoes.
SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies