Oklahoma tornado: Two dead and more injured after storm tears through El Reno

Tim Wyatt

At least two people have died and many more have been injured after a tornado tore through a town in Oklahoma, destroying a motel and mobile home park.

The tornado touched down in the town of El Reno, west of Oklahoma City, on Saturday evening.

Local officials told CNN two people were killed by the storm and an unknown number injured. The authorities are going door to door in the damaged mobile home park to try and find any other victims.

The American Budget Value Inn, a motel next door, was almost demolished by the tornado as well.

Images from the scene showed emergency workers combing through rubble and wreckage after the motel’s second storey collapsed into the car park outside.

“We have absolutely experienced a traumatic event,” the mayor of El Reno, Matt White, said during a press conference early on Sunday morning.

Mr White also explained several people had been taken to hospitals in Oklahoma City. “We're doing a search and rescue right now... we have all hands on deck,” he said.

The owner of the motel said all his guests had been accounted for, but some were hurt and receiving treatment in hospital, including an employee who had broken their leg.

One of those inside the mobile home park when the tornado struck, 63-year-old Tweety Garrison, told reporters her home was smashed into by another mobile home before it flipped over onto its roof.

She managed to call her son, who lives nearby, to tell him she was trapped. Despite the mobile home being stuck underneath another trailer and surrounded by debris, Elton Garrison managed to clear a path and squeeze his mother, father and two children out of the mangled wreckage.

“My parents were in there and two of my kids, one nine and the other 12 ... my main emotion was fear," he said. “I couldn't get them out of there quick enough.”

The Garrisons said they had heard warning sirens but paid them no attention because they went off regularly.

“I heard a lot of rain with the wind. But when it kinda got calm all of a sudden, that's when it didn't feel right,” Mr Garrison said.

Mr White asked people to pray for El Reno, a small town of just 17,000 people. “Our community is very resilient to this. We ask you to pray for us, pray for the first responders.

“The main thing is we have to stick together. I know people want to help. We want your help."

Oklahoma is part of America's infamous "Tornado Alley", a region which is regularly hit by the destructive storms.

In 2013, El Reno was struck by the largest tornado ever recorded which featured wind speeds of 301mph, the second-highest winds ever seen on Earth.

That storm was responsible for the deaths of eight people, including four storm chasers, and caused 151 injuries.