Flooding prompts dramatic water rescues after tornadoes hit Oklahoma, Texas
May 21 (UPI) — A significant severe weather outbreak erupted across the central and southern Plains into Tuesday unleashing drenching rain, flash flooding and at least two dozen tornadoes.
Flash flooding caused numerous issues on Tuesday, particularly around the Oklahoma City and Tulsa, Okla., areas, as there were reports of many road closures, including portions of Interstate 40. Several swift-water rescues were necessary in the El Reno area after flooding surrounded a family’s home.
The Oklahoma Highway Patrol and the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office tweeted several photos of roads completely submerged beneath floodwaters. The Deer Creek Fire Protection District performed “an incredible water rescue” of a person clinging to a tree after attempting to drive across a flooded road. Meanwhile, Skiatook, Okla., residents were awaiting rescue in five flooded homes.
Swift-moving floodwaters were a common sight in many portions of northern Oklahoma and southern Kansas, according to AccuWeather video Journalist Blake Naftel. He captured the incredible force of high water rushing across I-35.
AccuWeather meteorologist Reed Timmer captured footage of a tornado tearing through the Mangum, Oklahoma, area Monday evening, just days after he survived a close encounter with a tornado in Nebraska.
The Mangum tornado, which has not been rated by the National Weather Service, tore through city limits and caused damage to a number of structures. A 112-year-old home suffered extensive damaged after its windows were blown out and its roof was ripped off. The family reportedly emerged from the strike by the twister without suffering any injuries.
Despite more two dozen tornado reports as of Tuesday afternoon, there have been no reports of fatalities or injuries. The National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center issued a high risk for severe weather across portions of Oklahoma and Texas on Monday, the first time a high-risk warning has been issued by the agency since May 2017. The severe outbreak brought the highest tornado risk since April 14, 2012.
In addition to Mangum, confirmed tornadoes left behind damage near Paducah, Texas, and Leach, Okla.
A confirmed tornado was also reported over the Tulsa International Airport on Tuesday morning. There was no immediate word on injuries or fatalities. No damage was reported to the airport, but damage was confirmed in another part of town.
Another afternoon of violent thunderstorms, capable of spawning large hail and tornadoes, is predicted in the central United States on Tuesday.