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One killed in Oklahoma tornado as severe storms batter Central and Southern states

The unidentified person died as a result of a tornado in Barnsdall, a small city north of Tulsa, the sheriff said.
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At least one person in Oklahoma has died as a result of a tornado that ripped through small towns as severe storms moved from the South and into central areas, causing devastation and disruption for millions.

Osage County Sheriff Eddie Virden told NBC News that the unidentified person died Monday night as a result of a tornado in Barnsdall, a city of about 1,000 people 40 miles north of Tulsa, amid some of the storm's worst devastation.

Virden said it was too early to say how many other people may have been injured, but he said his deputies had rescued multiple people. "There’s areas, residences, that [have] been completely destroyed. We did several rescues of people trapped in debris," he said.

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol said on X that it had established a meeting point in the town for anyone searching for loved ones.

An Oklahoma State Highway Patrol trooper searches through storm damage in Barnsdall, Oklahoma.
An Oklahoma state trooper searches through storm damage Tuesday in Barnsdall. Mike Simons / Tulsa World via AP

Bartlesville, 20 miles to the northeast, was similarly affected. A hotel was severely damaged, as shown in social media posts uploaded by witnesses — firefighters were called to rescue some people trapped inside.

Bartlesville's city government said that there had been significant damage across Bartlesville, with some power lines down, but that only minor injuries had been reported so far. Residents were urged to stay inside and stay off the roads.

The National Weather Service issued a rare tornado emergency statement for Osage on Monday. "A large, extremely dangerous and potentially deadly tornado is on the ground," it said. The tornado watch was extended until 5 a.m. Tuesday.

Osage Nation Emergency Management officials and police said on Facebook they had joined "numerous agencies for search and rescue through the Osage Nation Reservation."

"Our community is strong and eager to help those in need," they said.

Across Oklahoma, more than 25,000 energy customers were without power at 5 a.m. local time Tuesday, according to the website, while 18,000 were without power in Missouri and almost 10,000 in Arkansas.

Tornado damage in Oklahoma
Damage in Barnsdall, Okla., early Tuesday after a tornado passed through the area. WxChasing / LSM

The National Weather Service said the severe weather — which has affected parts of the country for more than five weeks — will continue at least into Wednesday as an area of low pressure develops over the Great Lakes.

A tornado also swept through Smithville, Tennessee, bringing down trees and damaging houses, as seen in video uploaded to social media.

Three people had been confirmed dead in Texas as a result of storms and floods, Gov. Greg Abbott said Monday.

Severe thunderstorms were still moving across parts of the Midwest on Tuesday morning, with 29 million people under severe storm risk in the Tennessee and Ohio River valleys and other areas. Chicago; Nashville, Tennessee; Toledo, Ohio; and Ann Arbor, Michigan, could also get devastating weather.