Two dead after tornado tears through Oklahoma, destroying hotel

The second story of a El Reno motel collapsed in the Saturday night storm, officials said.

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By Associated Press

EL RENO, Okla. — Officials say two people have died after a likely tornado destroyed a motel and swept through a nearby mobile home park in the Oklahoma City area.

El Reno Mayor Matt White said during a news conference Sunday that "there have been two fatalities at this point in time." He said officials are working to notify relatives.

We have absolutely experienced a traumatic event," White said.

White said several people were transported to hospitals in Oklahoma City, but did not give an exact number.

"We're doing a search and rescue right now. ... We have all hands on deck," White added.

Meteorologist Rick Smith in Norman said the suspected twister hit El Reno on Saturday night as a powerful storm system rolled through the state. Smith says crews will assess the damage on Sunday to determine the severity.

The American Budget Value Inn was destroyed by the storm. Images at the scene showed emergency crews sifting through the rubble after part of the motel's second story collapsed into a pile of debris strewn about the first floor and parking lot.

Trailers at the Skyview Estates mobile home park adjacent to the motel also were damaged, as was part of a nearby car dealership.

Saturday night's storm in El Reno comes after a week of tornados, severe rain and flooding in the Southern Plains and Midwest, including a tornado that hit Jefferson City, Missouri. The region's most recent spate of bad weather and flooding has been blamed for at least nine deaths.