Oklahoma City: Residents Take Cover From Tornadoes

May 31, 2013 Updated: May 31, 2013

Tornadoes have developed in multiple areas of Oklahoma, and residents are taking cover. Scores of people took to Twitter to say they are holing up in parking garages, bathtubs, and storm cellars, as the tornadoes continue to move as of 8:46 p.m. Central Time.

At Will Rogers World Airport, passengers were directed into underground tunnels and inbound and outbound flights were canceled.

In Oklahoma City, the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office said its dispatchers are operating out of a storm shelter at the moment.

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol says motorists have been hurt in a storm that hit the Oklahoma City area and that others are missing.

Meanwhile, an NBC crew is at the same place in Moore, Oklahoma as they were last week, reporting then on a massive EF-5 that took out many buildings and injured dozens.

The storms tonight appear much less stronger but have still caused damage, including the death of a mother and child, according to a KFOR-TV reporter.

The National Weather Service’s Norman, Oklahoma branch called tonight’s storms a “very dangerous situation” on Twitter at 7:30 CT, but have since on Facebook said the threat is decreasing, with multiple tornadoes possibly being “brief” and “weak.”

One tornado was developing south of Del City and moving toward Tinker Air Force Base; another has been reported north and northeast of Valley Brook; a third has formed east of Will Rogers World Airport southwest of Oklahoma City; and a fourth, smaller tornado has touched down near 19 Street and Telephone road in Moore, according to the Weather Service and local media.

Tornado warnings are issued for Canadian, Cleveland, Grady, McClain, and Oklahoma counties.

OG & E, a utility provider, is reporting 54,907 power outages as of 8:30 CT.

Trooper Betsy Randolph said numerous vehicles were damaged in the storm and that many motorists are stranded. The Highway Patrol is urging motorists to get off Interstate 40 and drive to the south. A tornado touched down near El Reno and the storm moved to the east, toward Oklahoma City.

The Weather Center tweeted that the flash flood threat is high for the Oklahoma City metro area. “Most people who die in flood[s] down in their cars,” it tweeted.

Television cameras carrying the storm on statewide television showed debris in the air.

As the storm bore down on suburban Oklahoma City, Adrian Lillard, 28, of The Village, went to the basement of her mother’s office building with a friend, her nieces, nephews and two dogs.

“My brother’s house was in Moore, so it makes you take more immediate action,” Lillard said while her young nieces played on a blanket on the floor of the parking garage. “We brought toys and snacks to try our best to keep them comfortable.”

Well before Oklahoma’s first thunderstorms fired up at late afternoon, the Storm Prediction Center in Norman was already forecasting a violent evening. From the Texas border to near Joplin, Mo., residents were told to keep an eye to the sky and an ear out for sirens.

Forecasters warned of a “particularly dangerous situation,” with ominous language about strong tornadoes and hail the size of grapefruits — 4 inches in diameter.

Bad weather was also expected in parts of southeastern Kansas and southwestern Missouri. Tornado warnings were posted for remote areas of far southeastern Kansas and in the prairie well west of Oklahoma City, but there were no immediate reports of damage or injuries. Flooding will be a concern in the mid-Mississippi River Valley through the weekend.

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