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Tornado Outbreak Across Oklahoma & Texas Kills at Least 5

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A reported tornado outbreak struck parts of Oklahoma and Texas on Wednesday, April 22, 2020, killing at least five. An Emergency Management official with Marshall County confirmed at least two deaths and a number of injuries after a tornado hit Madill, Oklahoma, just as a shift was closing at two of their manufacturing facilities. There were also three deaths reported in Polk County, Texas (nearly 80 miles northeast of Houston) with the area appearing hardest hit being Onalaska, according to the Texas Division of Emergency Management.

Search and rescue is ongoing throughout Oklahoma and Texas as the full severity of tornado injuries and casualties have yet to be confirmed. A video was aired Wednesday, showing the massive Madill tornado (approximately 100 miles north of Dallas), which flung debris and sheet metal into the air. That twister was part of a severe weather pattern that was anticipated to bring with it thunderstorms, heavy rain, and flash flooding. In the meantime, Texas Governor Greg Abbott has confirmed the Polk County damage, and National Weather Service confirmed a “large and extremely dangerous” twister close by Sebastopol at approximately 5:45 p.m.

Tornado Outbreak Across Oklahoma & Texas Kills at Least 5

Photo: envato elements

A disaster declaration has been issued by Polk County, which sustained extensive residential and commercial tornado damage. As of 6 a.m. Central Time, 24 tornadoes have been reported across Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Texas. In Polk County, emergency shelters have been opened by officials in the Onalaska junior and senior high schools. At present, tornado watches are still in effect until 2 p.m. on Thursday, April 23, 2020, throughout Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Florida.

The 2020 twister season appears to be in full swing. As expected, the start of this year’s crop is no less powerful than those that came before it. Peak tornado season here in the Lone Star State generally begins in May and can extend into the month of June. However, AccuWeather released a higher number of such storms predicted for this year in comparison to prior years, including higher levels of activity per month. As an example, March did see some activity, April will now be planned as a normal expectant month, and May’s activity will be predicted to increase. Regardless of predictions, effective planning for safety in the event of a twister is always prudent. Tips for emergency preparedness are available at the link provided here.