Photo: Oklahoma tornado damage
Flooding was complicating relief efforts Saturday in the wake of tornadoes that killed at least seven adults and two children in Oklahoma, while Missouri declared a state of emergency due to the twisters.
The spokesman for the Oklahoma City Police Department, Lt. Jay Barnett, told reporters that flooding was the biggest problem in the metropolitan area.
“Areas of the city that don’t normally flood - we’re seeing flooding,” he said.
The Oklahoma City medical examiner’s office confirmed Saturday morning that there were at least nine fatalities, mostly people who were inside their vehicles when the tornadoes struck Friday afternoon.
Police and Red Cross personnel were scouring the area affected by the twisters, which caused traffic chaos on a highway that connects the suburbs of eastern and western Oklahoma City.
In some areas, floodwaters rose to as high as 1.2 meters (3.9 feet).
On Friday night, as the storms moved to the northeast, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon declared a state of emergency.
The St. Louis metropolitan area was hardest hit by the storms, and on Saturday there were 89,000 households without electricity. In Oklahoma, meanwhile, more than 85,000 customers were affected by power outages Saturday morning.