A devastating tornado tore through central Oklahoma overnight, claiming the lives of three people and leaving a trail of destruction behind. The McClain County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) confirmed the fatalities and stated that search and rescue efforts are ongoing in the region. The area around the town of Cole was particularly hard-hit, suffering the brunt of the damage.
The tornado first touched down near 260th Street and North Macarthur Avenue, just west of Cole. It then moved eastward, cutting a swath through Cole before turning north and passing through the town of Goldsby.
In response to the disaster, a Red Cross shelter has been established at Washington Public Schools. Residents who have experienced damage are encouraged to report it to McClain County Emergency Management.
The storm system also left a trail of destruction in Shawnee, located in Pottawatomie County.
An assisted living facility, Oklahoma Baptist University (OBU), and numerous homes all sustained significant damage. As a result, OBU has closed its campus for Thursday and Friday, while Shawnee Public Schools will also remain closed on Thursday.
Pottawatomie County leaders have requested assistance from Oklahoma Disaster Task Force One, with preliminary reports estimating that around 1,800 structures have been damaged.
Additionally, the tornado and accompanying high winds have wreaked havoc on power infrastructure. Approximately 18,300 customers have been left without electricity throughout Oklahoma. OG&E, the local utility provider, reported that power lines and equipment have been damaged, and their crews are working tirelessly to restore service as quickly as possible.