Tornadoes reported in Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska

Posted at 4:13 PM, May 06, 2015
and last updated 2015-05-06 23:00:00-04
By Catherine E. Shoichet


(CNN) — Severe storms tore through the Midwest on Wednesday, bringing tornadoes, flooding and heavy winds to parts of Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska.

There were reports of tornado damage southwest of Oklahoma City, Capt. Paul Timmons of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol said. A semitruck blew over in the storm, he said, and low visibility was making it difficult to reach the hardest hit areas.

“There’s debris just everywhere, and there’s a lot of water on the roadways,” he told CNN’s “Erin Burnett OutFront.”

A photo from CNN affiliate KFOR showed a storm ripped off parts of an exterior wall of the Norman Hotel in Norman, Oklahoma, leaving the parking lot filled with insulation and debris. The front desk clerk said she called guests as the storm approached and moved them into a storm shelter.

The National Weather Service declared a flash flood emergency late Wednesday for the first time in Oklahoma City history.

Click here live streaming coverage of the tornadoes from FOX 13 News sister station KFOR in Oklahoma.

Hospital on generator power

The Norman Regional Hospital had some minor damage and is on generator power but is fully operational, state officials said.

CNN meteorologist Sean C. Morris said 1 to 5 inches of rain fell in the Oklahoma City area through midafternoon, while an additional 3.07 inches fell at Will Rogers World Airport in less than an hour in the evening.

Flooding will be a major concern overnight, according to the National Weather Service.

No injuries or fatalities have been reported so far in the state, the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management said.

Jeff Theis, who shot video of a dark funnel cloud near Hardy, Nebraska, said he saw a tornado destroy a farm in the community. Hardy is near the state line with Kansas.

Weather spotters reported seeing tornadoes in central Oklahoma near the town of Amber, and in Kansas northeast of the town of Lincoln, according to the National Weather Service.

In Bridge Creek, Oklahoma, about 30 miles southwest of Oklahoma City, forecasters warned residents to take cover as the Weather Service issued a tornado emergency and said a large, destructive twister was in the area.

At Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma City, officials said they were evacuating passengers and employees to a pedestrian tunnel.

“We are seeing some pretty ominous-looking skies,” CNN meteorologist Jennifer Gray said.

The storms are part of a larger system going through Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas, Gray said, with the possibility of gusting winds, damaging hail and tornadoes.

CNN’s Sean Morris, Henry Hanks, Sam Stringer, Jeremy Grisham and Dave Alsup contributed to this report.

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