A building sits in rubble on Thursday, April 20, 2023, after a storm hit Shawnee Okla., on Wednesday. Strong storms with tornadoes and hail have killed several people in the central United States. (Nathan J. Fish /The Oklahoman via AP)

DALLAS—Crews scrambled to restore power to thousands of residents on April 20 after tornadoes plowed through Oklahoma during another deadly spring storm in the U.S., killing at least three people and damaging dozens of homes.

A day after at least eight tornadoes spun through Oklahoma, Gov. Kevin Stitt said authorities were still assessing the scale of destruction. He toured the aftermath in Shawnee, where nearly every building at Oklahoma Baptist University showed damage. A home improvement store was destroyed, but several people sheltering inside survived. Two long-term care facilities and a hospital in Shawnee were also damaged.

“The damage is unbelievable when you walk through there,” Gov. Stitt said after touring the city.

Gov. Stitt also visited the small town of Cole, where he said two people died and 50 to 100 homes were damaged. Authorities said a third person who was injured had also died, but it was not immediately clear where that person was injured.


“There are definitely dozens of various injuries, from minor all the way up to fatalities,” said Deputy Sheriff Scott Gibbons of McClain County, the county south of Oklahoma City where Cole is located.

Deadly storms this spring have killed dozens of people across a wide swath of the country, including one in March that produced tornadoes and killed at least 32 people from Arkansas to Delaware. Days later, another tornado left five dead in Missouri.

At Oklahoma Baptist University, sophomore Kennedy Houchin hid in a storm shelter with about 30 other people. When she was finally able to safely leave after about two hours, she saw the devastation the tornadoes had left on campus and elsewhere in Shawnee: downed trees, flipped cars and buildings with gaping holes.

Following the storms, Gov. Stitt declared a state of emergency in five counties: Cleveland, Lincoln, McClain, Oklahoma and Pottawatomie.

At the peak of the storm, there were more than 34,000 power outages reported, but that number had dropped by April 20 evening to about 16,000, the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management and the Office of Homeland Security reported. (AP)