OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A tornado destroyed homes, forced the evacuation of a nursing home and toppled trees and power lines when it roared through a small Oklahoma town, one of several twisters that erupted in the central United States amid a series of powerful storms that stretched into Tuesday. At least one death was reported.

The tornado ripped through the 1,000-person town of Barnsdall, about a 40-minute drive north of Tulsa, on Monday night. It was the second tornado to hit the town 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 National Weather Service’s 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, two each in Kansas, South Dakota and Iowa, and one each in Nebraska, Missouri and Tennessee. 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.

At least 30 to 40 homes in the Barnsdall area were damaged Monday night, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol reported, and a nursing home said it evacuated residents because a gas leak could not be turned off due to storm damage.

One person died in Barnsdall and at least one is missing, Barnsdall Mayor Johnny Kelley said.

“There are several homes destroyed, completely leveled,” he said. “The toughest thing on me as the mayor is this is a small community. I know 75 to 80% of the people in this town.”

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, including a firefighter who was taken to a hospital with chest pains, he said.

Authorities launched a secondary search Tuesday morning to find one person who was still missing, Kelley said. A second missing person was found safe, but injured, at a local hospital, he said.

The Barnsdall Nursing Home posted online that all residents were accounted for with no injuries. They were being taken to other facilities. It asked families to bear with them “as it is chaos in town … Please pray for us.”

Aerial videos from Barnsdall 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, Kelley said.

Damage also was reported in Bartlesville, about 20 miles (32 kilometers) northeast.

“We did take a direct hit from a tornado” in the city, said Kary Fox of the Washington County Emergency Management.

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 was scattered over the hotel’s lawn, and vehicles in the parking lot were heavily damaged with smashed-out windows.

The storm prediction center warned of an enhanced risk of severe thunderstorms across the Ohio Valley on Tuesday with a possibility of few, potentially strong, tornadoes, hail and severe, damaging winds.

The main threat was shifting east Tuesday, said Roger Edwards, lead forecaster with the center, though it is not as intense a threat as on Monday.

The weather service in Tulsa had warned Monday evening that “a large and life-threatening tornado” was headed toward Barnsdall, with wind gusts up to 70 mph (112 kph).

The storms began earlier Monday with gusty winds and rain. But after dark, tornadoes were spotted skirting northern Oklahoma. At one point in the evening, a storm in the small town of Covington had “produced tornadoes off and on for over an hour,” the National Weather Service said. Throughout the area, wind farm turbines spun rapidly in the wind and blinding rain.

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.


Salter reported from O’Fallon, Missouri. Associated Press writers Alexa St. John in Detroit; Rio Yamat in Las Vegas; Heather Hollingsworth in Mission, Kansas; Colleen Slevin in Denver; Kathy McCormack in Concord, New Hampshire; and Sarah Brumfield in Silver Spring, Maryland; contributed to this report.


Alexa St. John is an Associated Press climate solutions reporter. Follow her on X: @alexa_stjohn. Reach her at [email protected].


The Associated Press’ climate and environmental coverage receives financial support from multiple private foundations. AP is solely responsible for all content. Find AP’s standards for working with philanthropies, a list of supporters and funded coverage areas at AP.org.

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