A likely tornado has destroyed a motel, swept through a nearby mobile home park and caused significant damage in the Oklahoma City area, according to the National Weather Service.
Meteorologist Rick Smith in Norman told The Associated Press that the suspected twister hit El Reno on Saturday night as a powerful storm system rolled through the state.
Crews were expected to arrive on the scene on Sunday to determine the severity of the damage to the town located just west of Oklahoma City. No information was immediately available about possible fatalities
The American Budget Value Inn was destroyed by the storm. Images from the scene showed emergency crews sifting through rubble after part of the motel’s second story collapsed into a pile of debris strewn about the first floor and parking lot.
Elsewhere, overturned cars and twisted metal could be seen briefly as intermittent lightning flashed across the sky and the wailing sirens of approaching emergency vehicles were heard in the distance.
Trailers at the Skyview Estates mobile home park adjacent to the motel also were damaged, as was part of a nearby car dealership.
“We have absolutely experienced a traumatic event,” El Reno Mayor Matt White said during a news conference early on Sunday.
White said several people were transported to hospitals in Oklahoma City, but did not give an exact number..
“We’re doing a search and rescue right now … we have all hands on deck,” White said.
Saturday night’s storm in El Reno comes after a week of tornados, severe rain and flooding in Southern Plains and Midwest, including a tornado that hit Jefferson City, Missouri. The region’s most recent spate of bad weather and flooding has been blamed for at least nine deaths.