UPDATE (8:20 a.m. 5/25/11)The death toll has risen to 13 across the region with eight people killed in Oklahoma, two in Kansas and three in Arkansas, reports the Associated Press. Rescue crews worked through the night to account for missing persons, and so those numbers could rise. The storm system hit Oklahoma City's suburbs hardest with one weather station recording 151 miles-per-hour winds that injured at least 60--including three children in critical condition--in addition to the eight dead. A spokeswoman for the Oklahoma Medical Examiners office reports that a child was among those killed.
UPDATE (10:52 p.m.)
ABC is reporting that a funnel cloud was seen "by trained weather spotters" 10 miles from Joplin, Missouri. Around 10:45, another tornado warning was also issued for Joplin but cancelled minutes later.
Today's outbreak of tornadoes across the midwest has claimed six lives in Oklahoma and Kansas, reports CNN. Starting at around 3 p.m. on Tuesday, severe thunderstorms spawned a series of twisters in addition to the one documented live by local weatherman Jeff Piotrowski. Reports the New York Times of the damage:
The largest and most severe of the tornadoes struck around midday, touching down in Caddo County and then sweeping from the southwest to northeast corners of Canadian County, where it devastated El Reno, a town of 15,000 people about 25 miles west of downtown Oklahoma City. The tornado left a trail of shredded and overturned cars along Interstate 40, destroyed livestock, set off a gas line explosion and spurred people across El Reno to evacuate their homes.
The twisters were well documented by reporters in the area, and a number of videos have appeared online. This video shows a smaller tornado hitting a tractor trailer truck just outside the small town of Shawnee. According to the user who uploaded the video, the driver of the truck was in the cab when the twister hit:
CNN rounded up some highlights from Piotrowski's streaming broadcast from his car--scroll down for the original feed:
Local television station KOCO actually captured a funnel cloud touching ground in a live broadcast:
A tornado is tearing through Oklahoma right now, and local weather man Jeff Piotrowski is chasing it. With an Emmy on his shelf, Payne is a well-decorated meteorologist and YouTube-famous stormchaser. Unfazed by winds nearing 200 miles an hour, he's now narrating live what could be one of the biggest storms to hit Oklahoma this year. Like the tornado that devastated Joplin, Missouri this "multiple vortex tornado" contains multiple twisters inside of a one big funnel cloud. Preliminary reports say the storm has already killed two, injured many and damaged homes in counties south and west of Oklahoma City. Watch the live stream of Piotrowski's broadcast below and check back later for updates.
Live Broadcast by Ustream.TV
Clarification: An earlier version of this post misidentified the weatherman in the streaming video as KFOR's David Payne. While Payne is also covering the storm, Piotrowski's live stream is featured above.