5 Dead as More Tornadoes Slam Oklahoma City Area

Region hit less than two weeks after deadly tornado strike in Moore, Okla.

ByABC News
May 31, 2013, 9:34 PM

May 31, 2013 — -- Less than two weeks after a tornado killed dozens of people in Moore, Okla., more twisters and violent weather swept through the area, leaving at least five people dead, flipping trucks on interstate highways during rush hour and miring cars in deep floods.

The National Weather Service initially estimated that five tornadoes touched down in the Oklahoma City area, though the number was likely to change as survey teams visited the area Saturday.

The weather was blamed for at least five deaths, according to the Oklahoma Medical Examiner's Office. Among them were a mother and her baby possibly sucked out of their cars near Interstate 40, Oklahoma Highway Patrol Trooper Betsy Randolph told ABC News.

"We know that the storm picked them up and swept them away," Randolph said. "When the troopers found them, they were both deceased.

"We know that a mother and a child were killed tonight on I-40 in Canadian County," Randolph said. "I cannot stress to you just how important it is that if people don't have to be out, that they stay inside and seek shelter. ... There's just no safe place to be except underground when a tornado is present."

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Randolph said the area roads were extremely congested, particularly I-40 and I-35.

"Several spots are impassable whether it's high water or power lines that are down," she said. "We've had multiple crashes, some of which are probably going to be there for a while as we're unable to get wreckers to clear the roadway."

She added that troopers were being told to push vehicles off I-40 to clear the roadway.

Local hospitals reported receiving at least 72 patients, two critical, with two fatalities among them. One of the patients in critical condition was a baby.

Integris Health Southwest, which had three hospitals in the area, reported most of the patients, including the two dead -- the mother and baby from I-40.

Oklahoma University Medical Center, the only level 1 trauma center in the state, reported eight patients whose conditions were unclear, including two transferred from Integris and six pediatric patients at its children's hospital.

The National Weather Service earlier had issued a tornado emergency for the Oklahoma City metropolitan area, including Moore, which is south of the Oklahoma City, amid the massive storm.

Gov. Mary Fallin told ABC News that there were power outages, flooding and flipped trucks on interstates amid apparent tornados.

"We're real concerned about the people that are on the highways," Fallin said, noting the worst of the storm hit during the evening rush hour.

"It hit during a time when people were getting off work," Fallin said. "They knew the storms where coming in, so people were going home."

"We're seeing, right now, a lot of flooding," said Oklahoma Emergency Management spokeswoman Kelli Cain. "That is a big issue. We're seeing a lot of power issues. There's still a lot of hail. There's still safety issues out there. We haven't had a chance to get very much information about damage. There are still safety issues. It's still difficult to assess what damage is out there. We may not have information about that until [Saturday]. We still have storms moving through the state."

Approximately 80,000 customers were without power in Oklahoma, 65,000 of them in the Oklahoma City area, ABC News affiliate KOCO in Oklahoma City reported.

ABC News' Ginger Zee reported seeing "multiple tornadoes with multiple vortices."

KOCO reported that an apparent tornado had touched down near El Reno, Okla., and moved east toward Oklahoma City.

"It's really bad and lightning and all the roads are flooded," said Addie Pendarvis, who works at a Sonic drive-in diner in El Reno. "It was hailing really bad earlier, too."