A devastating tornado system ripped through Kansas and Oklahoma Wednesday evening, killing at least one person while levelling entire homes and leaving a trail of destruction across multiple counties.
Tennis-ball sized hail and torrential winds tore across the region, leaving approximately 20,000 people in the dark after the storms downed powerlines.
Authorities say at least one person is dead in Cole, Oklahoma, one of the first areas to be hit with the tornado system. The number of injured victims is currently unclear, however reports suggest several people have been hospitalized.
The severe weather front is expected to stretch through multiple states throughout Wednesday night and into the coming days, which could see several other breakout tornadoes continue to devastate the region.
The destruction comes after a series of tornadoes hammered the Midwest and South in recent weeks, where at least 26 people died due to the carnage.
A terrifying tornado devastated the town of Cole, Oklahoma on Wednesday evening
Over 20,000 people across several counties were left without power after the twister ripped through the Midwest
Tennis-ball sized hail and torrential winds destroyed multiple homes in the region
The National Weather Service warned that the tornado was set to be ‘large and extremely dangerous’ as it swept in over Cole, Oklahoma, a town of roughly 600 people.
‘Intense supercells are ongoing across central Oklahoma this evening, with multiple reports of very large hail and a couple of possible tornadoes reported,’ the prediction center warned.
‘Later tonight, renewed storm development is expected from north-central Kansas into central Nebraska.’
Entire homes have been levelled and trees have been shredded to their stumps by the torrential winds, while authorities are urging drivers to avoid roads within the storm’s path.
The storm touched Kansas late Wednesday night, with Chase County Sheriff’s Office confirming significant damage including downed powerlines ‘all over’, according to KSN. The authority reportedly added that a car was picked up by the tornado, before smashing its windows upon landing.
It is currently unclear how many people are injured, but the McClain County Sheriff’s Office in Oklahoma said that it was responding to reports of ‘injuries and persons entrapped within their shelters’.
Two people reportedly rode out the storm in Cole after taking cover in a manhole and were unscathed, according to KFOR-TV.
The extreme weather front is expected to cause significant damage in the coming days, after initially hitting mostly rural areas.
The prediction center added in its warning that the tornado would bring ‘severe thunderstorms with the potential for very large hail’.
It continued that there was a ‘risk for a couple of tornadoes’ in the region, and ‘severe gusts will be possible late Wednesday afternoon into Wednesday night across parts of the central states’.
Entire homes have been levelled by the tornado, which has seen wind gusts upwards of 75mph
The destruction is expected to stretch into multiple states overnight and into the coming days, with residents in the storm’s path urged to find shelter
Multiple states have been placed under severe weather warnings as the storm stretches through Wednesday night
Severe weather warnings have been issued for residents in the storm’s path, including those in Omaha and Lincoln, Nebraska.
Through the night, severe thunderstorms are predicted to stretch down to Austin, Texas, while also reaching St Louis, Missouri as several other isolated tornadoes are possible throughout the Midwest.
Residents in the storm’s path are being urged to take shelter, with some reporting that entire homes have been torn into debris by the destruction.
The severe weather front comes after multiple tornadoes ripped through America’s Midwest and South in recent weeks, killing at least 26 people and leaving hundreds of thousands without power.
Devastating storms destroyed homes and businesses and left entire neighborhoods unrecognizable.
The dead included at least nine in one Tennessee county, four in the small town of Wynne, Arkansas, three in Sullivan, Indiana, and four in Illinois.
Multiple tornadoes have hammered the Midwest and South in recent weeks, killing 26 people. Pictured is a destroyed home in Sullivan, Indiana on April 1, 2023
Masoud Shahed-Ghaznavi, pictured with his destroyed home in Little Rock, Arkansas on April 1, 2023
Last month, terrifying footage captured the moment a tornado battered a Mississippi high school, as the state struggled to handle the severe weather bomb.
The huge twister tore through Amory High School, before gusting through the Midwest as one of several to hit the region.
The tornado outbreak, which produced around two dozen tornadoes, caused catastrophic damage to the area, leading to countless injuries alongside the high death toll.
Continuing into the start of this month, tornadoes were also reported in Alabama and Arkansas, where city officials in Little Rock say more than 2,600 buildings were damaged after finding themselves in the storm’s path.
A huge recovery effort was introduced across the affected states, where fallen and splintered trees were torn to shreds by the high winds.
Walls and windows were blown apart in the destruction, while roofs caved in and thousands of homes and businesses were left to rubble.