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Continuing Live Coverage: Five Reported Deaths in Oklahoma; Tornadoes Move to Missouri and Illinois; 190,000 Without Power Across Midwest
Aired June 01, 2013 - 01:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: And welcome to CNN's continuing coverage of the tornados near Oklahoma City. I'm Natalie Allen.
ISHA SESAY, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Isha Sesay. We will be live on CNN bringing you the very latest developments. Here's what we know so far.
ALLEN: The Oklahoma City area didn't have time to get back on its feet after the last month deadly EF-5 tornado when it was slammed again.
SESAY: Yes, it was.
Friday night's twisters killed at least five people in Oklahoma and sent panic residents rushing for cover. The tornadoes warning storm system has for the most part. For the most part, it has moved across Oklahoma. It is now menacing Missouri and Illinois. The governor of Missouri has declared a state of emergency after several days of heavy rains, flooding is a real danger. Missouri has been drenched by heavy rains.
ALLEN: Forecasters now warning Illinois to brace itself for strong winds, damaging hail and the threat of more tornados. The storms have knocked out power to more than 190,000 people now in Oklahoma, Missouri, Illinois, Arkansas, and Indiana just to show you how widespread the system is.
SESAY: It has been a dramatic couple of hours.
Let's get a firsthand account on the disruption there on the ground. We are joined by our owned George Howell in Pauls Valley, Oklahoma.
George, where are you exactly? Tell us what's happening, what you're seeing around you.
GEORGE HOWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Isha, you know, we are about 40 miles from Oklahoma City, 40 miles from Oklahoma City. That's how far we had to go to get out of the path what have seemed to be a big, black, thick cloud that was chasing us for a good two hours.
It was fair to say a frightening situation on the roads. Keep in mind, we were set up to do live reports as the storm came in, we found a good safe place to do that and we got on the road early. We got on the road quick, and we got ahead of most of the traffic though we got stuck in traffic from time to time. A lot of people did get on the road as this thing continued to move in.
And that's really what we found out here. It was really a big exodus out of Oklahoma City. People going south, trying to get out of the way of the storm that continued to grow. This was a storm system set up over Oklahoma City itself, caused a lot of wind, a lot of rain. We understand that there are a lot of water rescues, there is flooding, interstate 40 is shut down at this point. And they are still going in to assess the damage from this big storm system with several tornados reported to have touched down. You know, there's a lot to assess as we get daylight.
But again, in a situation like this, you have a couple of options. You can go underground and take shelter. You can shelter in place if that's your only option, or you can get out of the way. Monitor the Noah weather radio, monitor the local affiliates, that's what we did. We got on the road, and I have to say, it was quite a frantic dash to get out that have city as this storm just continued to grow and redevelop and drop tornados. It's been a crazy night out here for a lot of people.
SESAY: Yes. Sounds terrifying, George. We heard descriptions that parts of interstate 35 and 40 basically look like a parking lot.
HOWELL: Absolutely. And, you know, that's the thing, again, even when you get ahead of the traffic, keep in mind, people in front of you will get on the highway and they are just comes a point where you are in gridlock. And that is the thing for people who were in the path of the storm, you have -- you just have to get out of the way or take shelter.
There were also a lot of storm chasers out. Our owned Chad Myers was with a credible storm chaser, J.R. Henling (ph) who has been doing this for years, and Chad was able to go around these storms and seat tornados drop from behind them. But even Chad had to get out of the way, because the storm developed in a way that was sort of unexpected. It started to move south, it dropped tornadoes and changed the direction, moving more towards the south. And really chasing a lot of people out of Oklahoma City.
SESAY: Yes. Now, good luck to you, George.
I've got to ask you about the emergency response to this. How is it going? You mentioned water rescues, talk to me about what you're hearing from first responders.
HOWELL: Absolutely. And that's the thing right now. We know that there are several inches of water in Oklahoma City. And that's our next plan to get back into Oklahoma City and start assessing that damage, talking to the official there is, you know, to figure out what is the result from this storm. But we know of water rescues, we know of at least five confirmed dead according to the Oklahoma county medical examiner. We are still looking into information and will bring it to you as we get more.
SESAY: Yes. It is indeed a fast developing story.
George Howell joining us there from Pauls Valley, Oklahoma.
George, we appreciate it. Stay safe, thank you.
ALLEN: George talking about all of the people effecting out on the roads with the severe weather, also stopped a major softball tournament in its tracks. Athletes sets to take the field in the women's college world series, look at that, instead took cover. At least six softball teams rode out the storm in an underground parking garage and tunnels in downtown Oklahoma City.
SESAY: Let's get the latest on the storms. We are joined by Pedram Javaheri.
Pedram, we were just -- we are talking to George, and he described it how terrifying it was on the ground when the severe storm system was passing through. What are you seeing now?
PEDRAM JAVAHERI, METEOROLOGIST: Yes. You know, it continues. It is a remarkable storm system that we have tracked here over the past 24 or so hours. And really, of course, really blossoming in the past six to seven hours.
But, just to show you the expansive nature of the storm system and the triangles and the polygons here that are in red indicating tornado watches, still have those in effect, that of Oklahoma all the way, even as far north and to the east as Ohio. We have tornado watches in effect, meaning, conditions still conducive for tornado development. Is it going to happen? Certainly can.
And we know we have seen lightning strikes. They are just tabulating, it seems some of the numbers. Nearly 13,000 in the last 24 hours across this region. But that in the past hour, almost 500 lightning strikes coming down. So, not just the one-dimensional storm that's bringing tornados across this region, but also, of course, heavy rainfall, hail, and also very dangerous lightning.
With so much water on the ground, power lines, they talked about here with about 190,000 customers without power, of course, all of this as the lightning and also the power went down could impact people that are trying cross the roadways and cross the water-covered areas. And that certainly one that we try to discourage, at least over the next couple of days.
And just go in for a closer perspective, because we have some active tornado warnings in effect, just east of Moore. And what's remarkable at the storm system is you look at i-40, the quarter going west to east across Oklahoma City, the storms popped up about a 5:00 or 6:00 in the afternoon, and have literally kept the same general area. They moved north of i-40. They have come south of i-40, and they are doing id what we call training and you imagine boxcar on a train and one after another, and storms continue to fuel from each other. So, one storm dies down, another one picks up where that left off, and so on and so forth. And we continue to see these storms develop. And we see where we have severe thunderstorm warnings in place in those areas.
Wind gusts could exceed about 60 miles an hour. You could still see hailstones about three quarters of an inch in diameter. And of course, there are a few areas that are just to the east, near the town of Canadian Oklahoma, just about south of the ton of Chickadee (ph) where we know tornado warnings are in place and the areas of concern, Haskell (ph) County, Macintosh County, (INAUDIBLE) County, and Pittsburg County, all with warnings in place.
Now, this storm is moving off to the east at about 30 miles per hour. Some 10,000 people on the path of this. And of course, when we talk about tornado warnings there, Isha and Natalie, the conditions are favorable for tornado development and also they are imminent or occurring at this region based on radar estimation. So, there could be a tornado on the ground across these communities. So certainly, not over with just yet across the area.
SESAY: Yes, Indeed. Pedram, great to have you with us.
You will be with us throughout the night here on CNN. Appreciate it.
And Natalie, you hear him talk about rain, wind, hail. I mean, they are not out of the woods yet. There's a possibility of a lot more trouble.
ALLEN: Absolutely. We are going to talk to someone right now who is in the thick of things, too.
Joining us live now from Oklahoma City is Kristy Yager. Kristy is the official spokeswoman for Oklahoma City. And I know that you are having a very busy evening.
Kristy, thank you so much for talking with us. We just heard the meteorologist talk about the fact that the region is not out of the woods yet. What can you tell us about the storm system right now? What are your most pressing concerns at this moment?
KRISTY YAGER, OKLAHOMA SPOKESWOMAN (via telephone): Well, the biggest concern we have right now is flooding. A lot of rain in the last few hours in Oklahoma City. We have seen widespread flooding throughout the entire 621 square miles, and it is a big concern. It was a huge issue.
About two hours ago, downtown Oklahoma City was busy, busy, busy, especially on a Friday night. A lot of people needed to get out, wanted to get out and home. They probably should have stayed downtown. But it created a lot of traffic issues around 9:00, 10:00, and 11:00 at night.
ALLEN: And I know you just went through this just a short time ago. What has it been like since this happened a few hours ago, trying to mobilize and ramp up again for what seemed to be hours of trying to make sure people stay safe and people get into shelters.
YAGER: Well, you know, we really needed a break after last storm. And there's just no rest. And our crews have been out, public works crews have been out trying to repair traffic lights, barricade streets, police and fire have been on alert all night. It's just been incredibly busy for everybody from city staff to emergency ambulance professionals. But it's not finished. It's still raining outside. And we still expect to see more flooding.
ALLEN: And as you mentioned, this happened at a time when people were getting off work, it was a very busy evening for the folks there in Oklahoma City. And that caused quite some trouble on the roads. And now you have got flooding.
What are your folks saying that are out working the streets now as far as the conditions and as far as whether the streets have finally emptied out of cars?
YAGER: Well, it's hard to say. I just drove home about 15 miles home from downtown Oklahoma City. And it was just fine for a little while, and then the rain just started coming down. And then I started getting flood issues.
So, it's just from one minute to the next, it is hard to say, and we are such a big city. So, I just have to say -- recommend that people stay off the streets, please. But, we need to let our emergency personnel get to work and try to get those rescues, those people out of flooding issues if their cars are flooded out in the middle of the street.
ALLEN: As you speak, we're seeing video from a suburb of Oklahoma City, El Reno, Oklahoma.
Kristy Yager, of course, we know you are busy, and we hope to talk with you again, if you're up all night, you might very well be.
Thank you so much.
They certainly did need a break from what happened, and now they are back in it again. And as we mentioned at the top of the newscast, five people lost their live this is evening. So we will continue to watch.
SESAY: Indeed. The latest numbers we are having in some of the injuries, 14 injured. And by last count, and of course, this is a developing story. So, those numbers could well change where we last heard 14 injured, three critically.
Stay with CNN throughout the night for our continuing coverage of this story.
ALLEN: And most of us know to take cover when a storm like this comes our way.
SESAY: But there's a small group of people who actually head toward it. They get us this incredible video, the video you are looking at on your screens. We are going to find out why storm chasers do what they do and what they are learning.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: This is CNN breaking news.
ALLEN: And hello, returning to live, breaking news coverage of the deadly outbreak of tornados in the Midwest. And we are starting to get some new figures on who was injured.
SESAY: Yes, absolutely. Now, official say at least five people died in and around Oklahoma City after a tornado touched down earlier this evening. Before we went to break, the numbers we had of injured was ten, it stood at 14. We are now getting this latest information and CNN that the storm system has injured 71 people, 71 people injured in this storm. That's according to the (INAUDIBLE) of the Integris Canadian Valley hospital in suburban Yukon. You look at the pictures on your screen, you see the unstoppable force of nature that once again sent people running panicked there in Oklahoma. It tore through homes, overturn trucks and tossed some vehicles from the road.
ALLEN: More than 50,000 are without power in the Oklahoma City area, as is the Will Rogers World airport. We are told that they are not even sure about the some of the planes there that might have been damaged.
Six more states have also been hit by the storms. Emergency officials say more than 190,000 people are without power right now. We have been getting some amazing footage as you can see there on your screen from these storms that broke out today.
Dave Holder chases storms for a live. He is in Ardmore, Oklahoma, and he joins us now on the line.
Dave, we have been hearing from so many people like you that this was quite a challenging evening, even for people like you that chase storms. What can you tell us?
DAVE HOLDER, STORM CHASER (via telephone): Yes. It was very difficult for a number of reasons. One, obviously chasing storms in the Oklahoma City metro is not exactly an easy task when you have hundreds of thousands of people living within that corridor. The other thing is we were expecting strong to violent tornados today, and therefore we had to make sure we were at a safe distance from them as they formed.
Another thing, there was a ton of traffic out on the roads today. It's something I've never quite seen before. Just the amount of people who either were going out to try to check on the storms themselves who aren't experts and doing this and didn't know what they were doing.
And two, something that I have never seen before. There were people trying evacuate all over the place. The whole metro, it was basically a huge evacuation zone when it came because we kind got south. All the areas, all the roads that utterly supposed south out of the Oklahoma City metro area were completely jammed up with traffic. It was just bumper to bumper traffic all the way like south of the metro.
And it was kind of a scary situation there, because if something had actually, you know, a tornado had formed south and gone over the area, there would have been hundreds and hundreds of cars and people stuck in these huge traffic jams during a very violent tornado.
SESAY: Right -- because as the storm chaser, you were used to being out pretty much by yourself because people aren't out at these times. So, I'm certain that caused a lot of chaos. And how were the drivers doing at that time? Could you tell if there was panic, people trying to get out of the way. Did they realize the danger?
HOLDER: Yes. There was mass panic. And it's something that it scares me, something that I haven't seen it before. We were south a little ways, and people were actually driving southbound in the northbound lanes to try to get out of the way. Even though in fact there was actually no imminent tornado threat, people were really, really panicked. You could tell bitter rat tick drive.
We almost got in to a head collision trying to go north and having cars come at us the opposite way. It was almost like I thought about people evacuating from a hurricane or something where they open up the other side of the lanes to let people go. But I mean, such a dynamic, changing, evolving situation with tornados forming and the storms coming in, it was really just asking for catastrophe. I'm really surprised there wasn't more problems or more -- I'm not hearing anymore reports of injuries from car crashes.
ALLEN: Thank goodness for that. Because as you said, it almost seems like a lot of luck there that people weren't injured trying to get out of the way. And as you said, you almost got into a head on collision. I can't imagine the panic out there on the streets. And I'm sure it was heightened from the fact that people just went through this and they were probably thinking we have got to get home. We can't thank you -- yes.
HOLDER: I think that the Moore tornado from ten days ago was really fresh in the minds, and they just really freaked out when they heard about the possibility for strong tornados again today. The weather service did a fantastic job of forecasting this. But again, people senses were so heightened with the previous events that I think everyone just really became panicked and just wanted to get the heck out of there.
ALLEN: We appreciate you, Dave. Thank you so much for talking with us. We're glad you're all right.
And we certainly hope this is over for now for the folks there near Oklahoma City other than the rain.
SESAY: Other than the rain. And you know, it's worth remembering that the tornado that struck Moore was May 20th, and an EF-5. So, of course, people, the sense of panic is heightened. And like he said, they just wanted to get out of the way.
ALLEN: Absolutely. We also know there were tournaments going on, a softball tournament that we mentioned. These people had to take cover. And it's a Friday evening and perhaps schools are letting out as well, so.
SESAY: Well, it is 22 minutes past one here on the east coast. CNN will be live throughout the night covering the tornados that have brought havoc across part of the U.S. at severe weather system.
Stay with us. We are going to take a quick break. We will be right back.
SESAY: Welcome back everyone, returning now to our live breaking news coverage of the deadly outbreak of tornadoes tonight.
ALLEN: Officials say at least five people died in and around Oklahoma City after a tornado touched down earlier this evening. We are also getting new numbers on the people injured. We are told that the system injured some 71 people. The unstoppable force of nature tore through homes, overturned trucks and tossed vehicles from the road.
SESAY: More than 50,000 people, 50,000, are without power in the Oklahoma City area., as is the Will Rogers airport, six more states have been hit bit storms. Emergency officials say more than 190,000 people are without power.
Well, CNN meteorologist Chad Meyers joins us now. He has been in the mix of the dangerous weather all day. Chad is now on the main road way Oklahoma, interstate 40.
Chad, tell me what it's been like over the last couple of hours.
CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST (via telephone): We started a at 4:00 local time five miles from here, and did a 280 mile loop of central Oklahoma. And now, we are back because this is where actually most of the tornado damage is.
What you are looking at on your screen here is a semi trailer that has been tipped over, and a couple of men and big tow trucks, an air bag that has being inflated underneath of this truck trying to set it back up on the wheels.
There are three others behind me that have also been turned on their side. The irony is that happened about six hours ago. The eeriness is that the lights are still on. The headlights are still on and flashers are on as these trucks are laying on their side. So, the guys are trying to get this back up. It was kind of a truck parking area, kind of little rest area or used to be a weigh station. But now, it's an area where usually you get a tornado, your chain saws. You are listening to this now, just big, diesel trucks.
SESAY: And Chad, how easy is it to get around?
MYERS: That's all you get. Normally, you hear the sound of chain saws. This really didn't do the kind of damage that a tornado usually will do. Those have winds probably 70, 80 miles per hour for most of it. And at time, it could have been 150 miles per hour tornado, an EF-3 when we first saw it touch down about eight hours ago now.
SESAY: And, Chad, I'm going to ask, as you talk about the loop and being where you are now, how easy is it to get around right now?
MYERS: You know, it's really lightened up. People are now going home. They have been where they were going. They did what they were going to do, whether they were going to try to evacuate or go to bowling. I'm not sure what was going on today. But there certainly was a lot of traffic. Traffic has slowed down now. I-40, that seems to be open from where we are. We picked it up at the i-44. (INAUDIBLE) turnpike, and kings to the west and things are now cleared up here traffic is moving nice. Although, people obviously are slowing down and looked kind of rubber neck here to look at the traffic (INAUDIBLE) that are tipped over. This is where the winds were the strongest right along i-40 and where we believe that a mother and child the lose their life.
We are continue down the road way, look for more problems with the roadway, we see and awful lots of blue and red lights ahead of us, that usual means that the police are there and try to help people, or there you go, you can see it all the way down the street where all the red lights, and arrows coming in as well.
SESAY: Well, Chad Meyers is in the thick of thing there on the ground in Oklahoma.
Chad, appreciate the reporting over many, many hours. We are going to continue to check in with you here and as we stay live throughout the night to cover this developing story.
ALLEN: It's hard to believe he said he covered 280 mile loop trying cover the story and get out of harm's way as we've heard from others.
SESAY: Yes, absolutely.
ALLEN: Well, the airport was just one of many places where people were trying to find shelter.
SESAY: But hundreds got stopped in their tracks by the storms caught in a dangerous traffic jam. And as you see there, no place to go, why that could be a problem once that flooding rolls in.
ALLEN: And welcome back to our continuing coverage of the tornados near Oklahoma City. I'm Natalie Allen.
SESAY: And I'm Isha Sesay. We will bring out latest developments all night long. Here is what we know so far.
ALLEN: The Oklahoma City area didn't have time to get back on its feet after the deadly EF-5 tornado when it was slammed again.
SESAY: Yes. Friday night's twisters killed at least five people there in Oklahoma and it sent panicked residents rushing for cover. The tornado-spawning storm system has, for the most part, moved across Oklahoma which remain under a state of emergency following that May 20th tornado.
Right now, the storm system is menacing Missouri and Illinois. The governor of Missouri has declared a state of emergency. After several days of heavy rains, now the big problem on the ground is flooding. That is a real danger. Missouri has been drenched by heavy rain.
ALLEN: Forecasters are warning Illinois to brace for strong winds, damaging hail and the threat of more tornados as this storm soldiers on. The storms have knocked out power to more than 212,000 people in Oklahoma, Missouri, Illinois, Arkansas and Indiana.
SESAY: Just incredible, the month of disruption.
Let's head back to the field now. We are going to take you to just outside Oklahoma City. That's where we find our George Howell who joins us now by phone.
George, bring us up to speed. What have you been seeing?
HOWELL (via telephone): Well, you know, you know, we are on the road heading back in to Oklahoma City. Fair to say, the highways are clear now. It was gridlock traffic, chaotic scene a few hours ago, people trying to get out of Oklahoma City. That's not the case now.
And our plan is to head into the city and, you know, start talking to the officials there to start assessing the damage done by these storms. Again, keep in mind, the storm with the death toll at this point. We understand it's five dead according to the Oklahoma county medical examiner's office. We also have some concerned information that a mother and her child were killed in the Oklahoma storm according to one official.
So, we are still getting information and this is an area, guys, that has been hit really hard over the last several weeks. Again, first the EF-4 tornado that came through Shawnee, Oklahoma. And that day, I believed it was a Monday, the EF-5 tornado that two or more. And you know, a week later, or rather two weeks later, here we are in this situation where the entire city of Oklahoma, Oklahoma City was really blanketed by this big, huge storm that just continued to develop and grow. And you know, for us, it was a matter of getting out of the of the way. It continued to chase us, Chad Meyers earlier explains this situation. He felt the same thing. That he kept driving south, and the storm continued to develop south. And that's what we saw as well.
And we left well in advance of the storm getting close to us. We took all of the precautions. But it's one of those things with the weather out here in Oklahoma, and the Texas panhandle, the north Texas. These storms develop quick. They hit hard and you really have to take precautions and get out of the way as soon as you get word to soon.
SESAY: The people in Oklahoma have been through a lot in the last couple of weeks. The latest one was way getting, and of course, we to want stress our viewers, this is of course a developing situation. The latest numbers we have is that 71 people injured in the storms.
Do you have a sense how well local hospitals and medical personnel are coping?
HOWELL: At this point, I don't have that insight. As I get closer to Oklahoma City and start talking to people, I will be able to give you some insight on that. I do know that from information we have been able to confirm, from information that we are hearing through our affiliates, there are reports of water rescues in Oklahoma City. Keep in mind that this is a city that took on a lot of water from the storm, inches of water, standing water in the city. And you know, we are going into that area now.
Right now, the roads are -- have dried from all of the rain. But, again, we understand that as we get closer, the drive in will be more difficult. You have got power lines down, that's something we're watching out for, trees that are down. And I would imagine some buildings that are damaged. I don't have that confirmed. But I'm just looking at what we saw earlier today Moore, that's when we were doing live shots. So, we understand that a strong storm came through there. So, you know, I would imagine there's some damage there. We are going to assess that.
SESAY: Yes. Now, George Howell on the roads there just outside Oklahoma City.
George, be safe. Thank you for checking in. We will, of course, continue to check in with you throughout the night here.
Let's take this moment, this opportunity to stress to our viewers once again. You heard what George said, and Natalie, that there are downed power lines, people need to stay off the roads. If you don't have to be on the road, stay indoors.
Let's get the latest on the storms now. We are joined by Pedram Javaheri from our weather center. And I know that the threat of flooding is severe for Oklahoma. This storm system continues to go across the region. So, you can tell us about that.
But Pedram, what I just heard from our correspondents and the storm chaser we talked, it's really the sound of fear in their voices, that this one was a -- this system was hard one to figure out and to stay out of the way of.
JAVAHERI: Yes. You know, Natalie, when you go through what they went through 11 days ago, across that region and getting the EF-5 that comes right through your neighborhood, and the rarity of just that storm in particular, only 0.03 all tornados turn out to be an EF-5 in scale. Some of course, that really puts you on edge.
Then, we had more severe weather roll through. Upward to six to eight inches of rainfall have come down on top of the debris, and people just trying to pick up their lives. And now, e have some 13,000 lightning strikes in the past 24 hours, another several inches of rainfall on top of this. And we just -- looking back through a data in Oklahoma City, because, you know, we have talked about so much rainfall in recent days, it has rained 11 of the last 15 days across Oklahoma City. And you know, we were in a tornado drought just about a month or so ago.
We were talking about the lack of tornados in the region. In fact, in March, only 18 tornados. It was the slowest month of March in 35 years. In April, we had about 85 tornadoes, one of the slowest in about 21 years. And just in the past five days, by my estimations, we are sitting of 111 reported tornadoes, much of them have indeed right across the Midwest and the central plains. And we do have some warnings to tell you about. Just east of Moore across the i-40 corridor. Go in for closer perspective because the I 40 area between mile marker 286 and also mile marker 236 near the town Vivian, southward near Robertson, we have a tornado warning in effect. Anywhere between this line of thunderstorms, a severe tornado, a significant tornado could form over the next couple of hours. And even countries around Haskell (ph) County, (INAUDIBLE), and Muscogee County, all in the area concerning.
Notice Fort Smith, that's in Arkansas, population here roughly 90,000 people, this line of severe weather moving about 30 miles per hour to the east will eventually make its way towards Fort Smith. And we are going to be watching that, of course, because tornadoes are capable with this and it's not the only tornado warning in place, Isha and Natalie, because another one to the north here, Catskill (ph). This is in Missouri, on the border of Oklahoma and Missouri, some 7,000 people exposed to this, and we know, tennis ball size hail are estimated to be coming down at this hour across that region for that storm system.
ALLEN: And as you say, spring is just catching up. So tornado season is catching up right now. A lot of people need to be on alert.
OK, Pedram. We will keep in close tabs with you, thanks.
SESAY: Well, in the days after a major storm like this one, the federal government sends help. I'm joined on the phone by CNN's national security analyst Juliette Kayyem. She is a former assistant secretary at the department of homeland experience and she has experience on natural disasters.
Juliette, great to have you with us. Give us your assessment of the impact of the storm so far in Oklahoma and, of course, the response we are seeing from authorities.
JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST (via telephone): Well, I think we have no idea what the impact is because it's still ongoing as you have been discussing. I think people are going to wake up tomorrow having experienced the last 20 hours, have a sense of fatalities and injuries and of course the physical damage.
And then, right now, how it normally works, is local resources and state resources help in any disaster, and then the federal government comes in to assist if more things, more materials, more assets are needed to help with the cleanup. And that's the way it will work in this instance because Oklahoma has experienced so much recently. You know, you are dealing not only with the fact that people have been, you know, having to pick up after all these weather disasters, but also for first responders total exhaustion, to be honest. You've had them working non-stop, the state, the governor, just think of the governor and how much he's done. Working and then, of course, this comes again. But the state will hear -- will know what is needed and will begin to send those materials. And by the end of tomorrow, that soon, there will start to be some assessment of how much damage there is. Because, of course, then you're going to have people seeking disaster relief claims and seeking money to begin to rebuild. So, all of this will happen relatively quickly in the next 24-48 hours. SESAY: But what would really complicates the situation and heightens the difficulty is, of course the fact, this time they are dealing with rain and flash flooding.
KAYYEM: That's right. So it's, you know, they are going to have to wait, essentially, for all the damage to be done, right? And it may be another day, another two days. And the scary thing is, more tornados may come during that process. But also we're entering hurricane season.
And just last week, the national weather service said this was going to be an extremely active hurricane season. So, it's one of these things where you are constantly as a first responder or someone in the disaster relief field, constantly picking up and waiting to see what happens next.
The federal government is always there to assist, but it's actually, you know, it has 50 states to deal, so it's very conscious that if they send too much in one place, something could happen the next week where materials, people, resources are need in the state next door. And so, it's just one of those guessing games, unfortunately.
SESAY: It's a very difficult situation. And you made the point, the Oklahoma governor Mary Fallin has been so much as have her residents.
Juliette, great to have you with us. Great to get your insight and perspective. We are going to continue to check in with you. Thank you.
ALLEN: We have been talking about all the people stuck trying to get to safety this evening in the Oklahoma area. And we know the expression, you can run but can't hide, but you can do both and live to tell about it when a tornado is coming.
SESAY: If you know where to go, that is.
CNN chief medical important Dr. Sanjay Gupta has some potentially life-saving tips.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Very large storm heading into Moore, Oklahoma.
DOCTOR SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Thirteen minutes. That's the average lead time you'd have if a tornado was headed your way.
(On-camera): There is, obviously, no completely safe option during a tornado. Your best bet is to get into a basement somewhere below ground level. But keep in mind, that you are there, you want to see what's on the floor above you as well, refrigerator, a piece of heavy furniture could come through the floor. So, you want to be aware that have.
Also, here in Moore, Oklahoma, there aren't a lot of basements. Studies show there is another very good option. Take a look over here. An interior room or a closet like that can be the best place to be as well. The house is gone here, but that closet preserved, even the clothes inside.
Remember, just got 13 minutes, so find the safe place, maybe grab a helmet or a bike helmet, event throw some mattresses or a blanket over you to try and protect the head.
One place you can't hide from a tornado is in the car. Tornado strength winds can pick up a one to two ton vehicle like this one and toss it around like you or I would a basketball.
Now, you obviously, don't want to be driving toward a tornado, but it's also a bad idea to be driving away from a tornado. It's hard to gauge the distance. If you must be driving and the weather is clear, try driving at right angles to get out of the path of the storm.
There is another misconception as well which is to get out of the car and run underneath an overpass. What happens in a situation like this is the wind is actually funneled It's even more powerful than the storm and there's also a lot of debris. And that debris can injure you.
Now, if you are stuck outside as a tornado approaches, find a ditch. Or any place far away from potentially dangerous objects and vehicles, and stay low.
Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, Moore, Oklahoma.
ALLEN: We are certain to hear more stories from people that made it through this one and hear how they did that in the coming hours. And we have much more storm coverage for you coming up.
We will also check the other news from around the world. Please stay there as our continuing breaking news comes back right after this.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: This is CNN breaking news.
ALLEN: And welcome back. They say lightning never strikes the same place twice, but tornadoes seemed to be drawn to the Oklahoma City area.
SESAY: Friday night's twisters killed at least five people in Oklahoma and injured more than 70 others. The storm sent understandably spooked residents rushing for cover. The tornado-spawning storm system has for the most part moved across Oklahoma which remains under a state of emergency following that May 20th tornado.
Right now, the storm system is menacing Missouri and Illinois. The governor of Missouri has declared a state of emergency. And after several days of heavy rains, flooding is a real danger. Missouri has been drenched by heavy rains.
ALLEN: Forecasters warning Illinois to brace itself for strong winds, damaging hail and the threat of more tornados. The storms have knocked out power now to more than 212,000 people in many states, Oklahoma, Missouri, Illinois, Arkansas and Indiana.
SESAY: Two hundred and twelve thousand people without power.
Well, looking at some of the other stories making headlines now.
ALLEN: Four fire fighters died fighting a fire in Houston Friday. It happened during a hotel fire when a wall collapsed. Houston's mayor said other fire fighters tried to save their colleagues.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYOR ANNISE PARKER, HOUSTON: Going to go in the history of the Houston fire department as the worst day in the history of the Houston fire department. The greatest loss of lives in the proud tradition of the Houston fire department.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN: The dead fire fighters include three men and one woman.
SESAY: The FBI found quote, "very low concentrations of ricin on letters sent to president Obama and New York mayor Michael Bloomberg." Authorities in Texas have searched at home of a man who possibly connected with those threatening letters. At least ten letter are contaminated with the poison have been sent to government officials in recent weeks.
ALLEN: A small plane crashed into an apartment building in Herndon, Virginia early Friday. Two people in the plane and one person on the ground were injured and taken to the hospital. Authorities say the plane just ran out of gas and the pilot was trying to land at a nearby airport when it hit the building.
SESAY: Clashes went well into the night in Istanbul, Turkey as police fired water cannon in effort to clear demonstrators from the central part of the city. The protesters have been rallying against a plans to build a shopping mall, but some say it's grown into something bigger.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ELBRUZ YILMAZ, PROTESTER: We don't want this to be a shopping mall. It's something else because the prime minister is controlling the media, the police, and we have no control about what gets out in term was news from Turkey.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: This isn't about a shopping mall, anymore?
YILMAZ: Not anymore. This is, I think it's going towards some political. And suppression has come to a certain level where people are fed up with this, So, we are going to change it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SESAY: Well, late Friday, a court agreed to hear the case against the construction and ordered a temporary stop. ALLEN: The second main suspect in the gruesome slaying of British soldier, Michael Adebolajo, is out of the hospital. Michael Adebowale, shown here in the 2011 photo, is now in police custody. The other suspect has been charged with murder, and two other men linked to the case were arrested on Friday.
SESAY: A preliminary report says mistakes in routine maintenance are to blame for last week's emergency landing at heath row. The report found two coverings on the British airways to plane's engines were left unlatched of the maintenance. The cowl detached during takeoff, puncturing a fuel pipe on the right side.
ALLEN: We continue our coverage now following the storm situation in the Midwest.
SESAY: Yes, Oklahoma and Missouri remain in a state of emergency. The storms have passed over, but there is damage and death.
Come back at the top of the hour, we will have many more details for you.