Major Damage, At Least One Fatality Reported After Tornado Hits Elk City
ELK CITY, Oklahoma - Major damage, multiple injuries and at least one fatality has been reported after a tornado hit Elk City, Oklahoma in Beckham County, Tuesday afternoon.
Incident Communication Officers Danny Ringer confirmed the fatality occurred near State Highway 152 and State Highway 34. The victim, Gene "Bo" Mikles, Jr., 53, was in his car in Merritt when it was thrown "several hundred feet." Mikles was found lying on the ground.
At least 100 structures were damaged and more than 50 were destroyed. There are 10 reported injuries and only two were treated at the hospital. The Elk City Police Chief tells News 9 that some people were trapped inside of tornado-damaged homes.
According to the Elk City City Manager Lee Litterell, so far all residents have been accounted for, although rescuers are still going home-to-home checking for injured or trapped individuals. Litterell tells News 9 the hospital has called in for extra help to assist with the injuries. Right now, it's estimated that as many as 70 homes may have been damaged or destroyed in the storm; 20 to 30 homes on Mulberry Ln. and in the Country Club area.
The club house at the Elk City Golf and Country Club was also destroyed, according to the police chief. Overturned trucks prompted authorities to shut down on State Highway 6, south of Interstate 40.
Several out-of-town crews with police and fire departments have joined in on the search and rescue efforts, Litterell told News 9. Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers are setting up operations in Elk City to assist with residents displaced by the storm. A shelter is being opened at the First Baptist Church of Elk City to help affected residents.
A spokesperson for the Oklahoma Red Cross says they will send an emergency response vehicle and supplies on Wednesday.
"Our rapid response assessors are in Elk City and nearby storm-affected areas, and we are going to continue to follow the storms," said Disaster Relief Director, Sam Porter.
The Oklahoma Corporation Commission was notified of about 3,000 outages in the storm-damaged area in Beckham County.
At least three tornadoes have been confirmed to have touched down in the storms so far, according to the National Weather Service.
Keep checking with News 9 and News9.com for more information.
My thoughts and prayers are with those affected by the tornado in Elk City tonight.— Governor Mary Fallin (@GovMaryFallin) May 17, 2017