Nightly News | April 15, 2011
>>> good evening. we are in the middle still of an urgent violent and explosive weather situation that has thundered from the midwest right through the american south . 11 tornados were reported in four hours' time, starting in kansas, then oklahoma , then the numbers started to increase. there have now been dozens and before tonight is over we could see 50 of them in the united states . at least nine people are dead due to weather in just two of those states, and while it's early yet in 2011 , there have been nearly 250 tornados confirmed already this year. we have it all covered for you tonight. jim cantore standing by. we begin our coverage tonight with meteorologist eric fisher of the weather channel . he's in tushka , oklahoma . eric, good evening.
>> reporter: good evening, brian. here in southeastern oklahoma we saw some of those violent storms on thursday evening, one of those coming right through this community of tushka , oklahoma . it's a small town, only about 350 residents that live here, so when a tornado of this magnitude comes through, it affects everyone in the community, and those storms continue to rumble tonight.
>> large tornado crossing the highway just in front of us.
>> reporter: storm chaser footage shows one of nearly a dozen tornados that ripped through the southern plains overnight. this twister barrelled through tushka , oklahoma , killing two elderly sisters. high school students huddled in a storm shelter as it tore through the building overhead, picking up school buses and flipping them on their sides.
>> it just looks like somebody came and stepped on it.
>> reporter: all of the students survived, but seniors three weeks from graduation wonder where they'll finish the year.
>> from a school standpoint a total loss . i don't see a possibility of having school in these buildings again.
>> whoa, that's violent.
>> reporter: at one point the system dropped three tornados side by side .
>> we got two, three.
>> reporter: in western arkansas , no tornados, but violent winds had tragic consequences. a father and his 18-month-old daughter were sleeping in their mobile home when winds blew a tree onto the trailer, killing both. the child's mother survived. in little rock , a tree crashed into a home killing an 8-year-old boy and his mother who had climbed into his bed to comfort him.
>> there was a 2-year-old in the house that was fine that was in a back part. that child is okay.
>> reporter: further east in arkansas, straight-line winds ripped a mobile home from its moorings and tossed it 70 feet, killing a 64-year-old woman and critically injuring her husband. swirling winds created this waterspout over clinton reservoir. storm chasers captured dramatic footage of a tornado near jackson. it peeled the roof off of this bank in clinton. police did manage to recover all the money inside. the tornado then crossed over interstate 20 .
>> the interstate shut completely down. we have two cars that are flipped upside down.
>> reporter: we're outside the only school here in tushka , oklahoma . it is a total loss . it stood for nearly 100 years. over my shoulder , one of the most bizarre scenes, a bookcase in what was once a classroom. the books still standing as if a storm didn't roll through. it's one of those bizarre signs you see in a spring storm. places like the deep south , missouri, illinois. on the back side, blizzard conditions and icy cold weather . brian.
>> unbelievable, eric fisher starting us off in tushka , oklahoma . eric,