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After deadly Oklahoma tornado, storms bring twisters to Michigan, other parts of the Midwest

RELATED: Whitmer declares state of emergency after severe storms, tornadoes in Southwest Michigan

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Severe storms battered parts of the Midwest on Tuesday, unleashing a curtain of heavy rain, gusty winds and tornadoes in the region one day after a deadly twister ripped through a small Oklahoma town and killed at least one person.

Tornadoes were spotted Tuesday in southwestern Michigan, northern Indiana and northwestern Ohio. Considerable damage was reported around the Kalamazoo and Portage areas. At least 1 tornado was confirmed Tuesday with additional storm survey’s by the National Weather Service likely on Wednesday.


The powerful storms come amid a wild swing in severe weather across the globe that includes some of the worst-ever flooding in Brazil and a brutal Asian heat wave.

The Storm Prediction Center cited 17 reports of tornadoes from Monday evening through early Tuesday in the central part of the United States. Eight of the twisters were in Oklahoma, and at least one tornado was spotted in Kansas, South Dakota, Iowa, Nebraska, Missouri and Tennessee.

The deadly tornado that touched down Monday night in Oklahoma ripped through the 1,000-person town of Barnsdall, about a 40-minute drive north of Tulsa. The National Weather Service there had warned Monday evening that “a large and life-threatening tornado” was headed toward Barnsdall and the nearby town of Bartlesville.

It was the second tornado to hit Barnsdall in five weeks — a twister on April 1 with maximum wind speeds of 90 to 100 mph (145 to 161 kph) damaged homes and blew down trees and power poles in Barnsdall.


The town’s mayor, Johnny Kelley, said one person died and one man was missing. Authorities launched a secondary search Tuesday morning for the missing man.

“The toughest thing on me as the mayor is this is a small community,” Kelley said. “I know 75% to 80% of the people in this town.”

At least 30 to 40 homes in the Barnsdall area were damaged Monday night, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol reported.

Aerial videos showed several well-built homes reduced to piles of rubble and others with roofs torn off and damaged walls still standing. The powerful twister tossed vehicles, downed power lines and stripped limbs and bark from trees across the town. A 160-acre wax manufacturing facility in the community also sustained heavy damage.


First responders rescued about 25 people, including children, from heavily damaged homes where buildings had collapsed on or around them, Kelley said. About a half dozen people suffered injuries, he said.

The Barnsdall Nursing Home said it evacuated residents because a gas leak could not be turned off due to storm damage. It later posted online that all residents were accounted for with no injuries, and they were being taken to other facilities.

Gov. Kevin Stitt, who toured the twister’s damage on Tuesday, said it was rated by weather researchers as a violent tornado with wind speeds up to 200 mph. Stitt said he and legislative leaders have agreed to set aside $45 million in this year’s budget to help storm-damaged communities.

“Oklahomans are resilient,” Stitt said, “and we’re going to rebuild.”


At the Hampton Inn in Bartlesville, several splintered 2x4s were driven into the south side of the building. Chunks of insulation, twisted metal and other debris were scattered over the hotel’s lawn, and vehicles in the parking lot were heavily damaged with smashed-out windows.

Matthew Macedo, 30, who was staying at the hotel, said he was ushered into the hotel laundry room to wait out the storm.

“When the impact occurred, it was incredibly sudden,” he said.

The storms tore through Oklahoma as areas, including Sulphur and Holdenville, were still recovering from a tornado that killed four and left thousands without power late last month. Both the Plains and Midwest have been hammered by tornadoes this spring.

Oklahoma and Kansas had been under a high-risk weather warning Monday. The last time such a warning was issued was March 31, 2023, when a massive storm system tore through parts of the South and Midwest including Arkansas, Illinois and rural Indiana.

The entire week is looking stormy across the U.S. The eastern U.S. and the South are expected to get the brunt of the bad weather through the rest of the week, including in Indianapolis, Memphis, Nashville, St. Louis and Cincinnati, cities where more than 21 million people live. It should be clear over the weekend.

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