WOODWARD, Okla. -- Five people are dead and at least 20 injured after a tornado hit the northwest Oklahoma city of Woodward close to midnight Sunday morning. Two children were killed when the tornado tore through the Hideaway Trailer Park. Two others were killed southwest of Woodward, and one person died at the hospital from injuries. City Manager Alan Riffel told the Woodward News half of the injured admitted to the hospital are suffering from life-threatening injuries.
Tornado survivors told KFOR-TV the storm sirens went off for about three minutes before the storm hit but stopped sounding. The tornado ripped through Woodward about 15 minutes after the initial sirens went off. Woodward Emergency Management Director Matt Lehenbauer told the Woodward News he believed power line issues caused the tornado sirens not to function properly. He said the backup system was used but did not operate properly due to the strength of the storm.
Witnesses told KFOR-TV they heard the tornado coming because it sounded like a train. Some were able to get to underground shelters, but others had to ride out the storm in their mobile homes. Several of those homes were ripped from their foundations. Other areas of Woodward sustained damage, as well, and most of the city was left without power following the storm.
The storm was the deadliest to hit Woodward since 1947. More than 100 people were killed when an E-F5 tornado tore through the city damaging 100 city blocks more than 60 years ago.
Sunday morning's tornado was part of an outbreak of severe weather across the plains. More than 100 tornadoes were reported in Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska and Iowa.