“The thing about El Reno is we are more than a community, we are a family," Mayor White said. "We’re going to overcome this."

By Claudia Harmata
May 26, 2019 01:35 PM
Credit: TORREY PURVEY/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock

A deadly tornado touched down in El Reno, Oklahoma, late Saturday night, killing two people and injuring at least 29, according to local authorities.

The twister tore through the Skyview Mobile Home Park, where the fatalities occurred, and demolished the American Budget Value Inn motel near Highway 81 and Interstate 40, the Associated Press reported.

Once daylight broke Sunday, the extensive damage that the tornado left behind was visible. The National Weather Service gave it a preliminary EF-2 rating when assessing the damage, which means it had wind speeds of 111-135 mph.

Credit: TORREY PURVEY/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock

“It’s a tragic scene out there,” El Reno Mayor Matt White said at a news conference, according to the AP. “People have absolutely lost everything.”

Calling the scene “horrific,” White added that the tornado “decimated” affected areas.

Homes were flipped on top of each other at the trailer park, with search and rescue crews still shuffling through the debris to make sure everyone has been found. The second floor of the motel has fallen completely through to the first floor and parking lot. According to White, everyone at the motel has been accounted for.

Credit: Sue Ogrocki/AP/REX/Shutterstock

“We have all hands on deck,” White said, according to The Washington Post. “We have absolutely experienced a traumatic event.”

In a video of the press conference held Saturday night, White can be heard asking for prayers for the community in El Reno and for the first responders at the scene of the disaster.

The tornado was part of a series of powerful thunderstorms, tornadoes and flash floods that have ravaged the Midwest in the past week. At least 11 people were killed, including the two fatalities from Saturday night’s tornado.

The 29 people who were injured in the Oklahoma tornado were all taken to hospitals, with some undergoing surgery, White confirmed. News9 reported that 16 of those people were taken to hospitals by paramedics and the 13 others were taken to hospitals in private vehicles.

“The thing about El Reno is we are more than a community, we are a family,” White said. “We’re going to overcome this. It’s so devastating to see the loss out there.”