Tornadoes in central Oklahoma cause damage, three deaths

On April 19, Oklahomans braced themselves as multiple tornadoes touched down in several central Oklahoma communities, damaging structures and killing at least three people. The town of Cole—30 miles south of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, with a population of 600—was hit by a severe tornado at 7:39 pm. The tornado leveled buildings and caused the deaths of three people. Search and rescue members found one man on the evening April 19 that had already succumbed to his injuries and a woman was found later that night and transported to a medical facility, but died en route. A third victim was conformed on April 20, but no details are available at this time. A large amount of debris and down power lines have been reported in the area.

Tornadic activity also hit the town of Shawnee, Oklahoma, which is about 40 miles northeast of Cole. The Oklahoma Baptist University campus was in the path of the tornado and receive extensive damage, but no fatalities have been reported at this time in Shawnee. Most schools in the Shawnee and Cole areas are closed on April 20 due to damage to structures and no electricity. Other areas across the state, such as Oklahoma City and Edmond also received heavy rain and large hail.

Lacey Vilhauer can be reached at 620-227-1871 or [email protected].