El Reno, Oklahoma, tornado leaves at least 2 dead, dozens hurt as city in 'very trying time,' mayor says

At least two people were killed and nearly 30 people were injured Saturday night when a tornado roared through a city in the Oklahoma City area nearly six years to the date another violent twister tore a path of destruction through the same town.

El Reno Mayor Matt White said during a news conference on Sunday morning that at least two people were killed when the tornado destroyed a motel and ripped through a nearby mobile home park during its 2-mile path.

"It's a tragic scene out there," White said.

Damage from a tornado is seen in El Reno, Oklahoma on Sunday.

Damage from a tornado is seen in El Reno, Oklahoma on Sunday. (National Weather Service)

The mayor told reporters that a total of 29 people were injured in the twister. Sixteen people were transported by officials to hospitals in Oklahoma City, while 13 people were taken in private vehicles with injuries that ranged from minor to critical condition.

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White added that several people are still in surgery "as we speak."

"There's some absolutely major issues at this point in time," he said.

The National Weather Service in Norman said that damage from an EF-2 tornado has been found so far. EF-2 tornadoes have winds between 111 and 135 mph, and can create "considerable damage."

White said that the tornado touched down and went across Interstate 40 before destroying the American Budget Value Inn. Images from the scene showed emergency crews sifting through rubble after part of the motel's second story collapsed into a pile of debris strewn about the first floor and parking lot.

Loyd Roberts, of Burnet, Texas, told the Oklahoman he was asleep at the motel when the roof fell in.

“That is what woke me up," he told the paper. "The roof caved in, desk flipped over, the room looked like a bomb hit it. I pulled the sheet rock off of me and started looking for people. All I saw was people with scrapes and bruises.”

Emergency workers search through debris from a mobile home park, Sunday, May 26, 2019, in El Reno, Ok., following a tornado touchdown late Saturday night.

Emergency workers search through debris from a mobile home park, Sunday, May 26, 2019, in El Reno, Ok., following a tornado touchdown late Saturday night. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

The mayor said everyone in the motel has been accounted for, but authorities are conducting a grid search of the entire area struck by the tornado. After striking the motel, the tornado then went to the Skyview Trailer Park

"Pray for the families," White told reporters. "People have absolutely lost everything."

Saturday night's storm in El Reno comes after a week of tornados, severe rain and flooding in the Southern Plains and Midwest, including a tornado that hit Jefferson City, Missouri. The region's most recent spate of bad weather and flooding has been blamed for at least nine deaths.

Emergency workers search through debris from a mobile home park, Sunday, May 26, 2019, in El Reno, Ok.

Emergency workers search through debris from a mobile home park, Sunday, May 26, 2019, in El Reno, Ok. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

White said that El Reno is a "very resultant community," having come off a flood in the past week where officials conducted at least 47 boat rescues and been “working their tail off.”

"It's a very trying time for us, but we're going to get through it," an emotional White said.

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Trailers at the Skyview Estates mobile home park adjacent to the motel also were damaged, as was part of a nearby car dealership.

Elton Garrison told the Associated Press he rushed to help after his mother called to say she was trapped when the mobile home next door slammed into hers, before it flipped over and landed on her roof.

"My parents were in there and two of my kids, one 9 and the other 12...my main emotion was fear," said Garrison, who has lived in El Reno for about 26 years. "I couldn't get them out of there quick enough."

The storm struck El Reno nearly six years to the day an EF-3 tornado tore through the city located about 26 miles west of Oklahoma CIty. The May 31, 2013, tornado was the widest tornado on record when it struck El Reno, killing 8 people and injuring 151 others, according to AccuWeather.

Police stand at the ruins of a hotel in El Reno, Okla., Sunday, May 26, 2019, following a tornado touchdown late Saturday night.

Police stand at the ruins of a hotel in El Reno, Okla., Sunday, May 26, 2019, following a tornado touchdown late Saturday night. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

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White, who is a fourth-generation resident of the city, said he has faith in his community to recover and overcome the latest disaster.

"The thing about El Reno is we're a community," the mayor said. "We're a family."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.