tv Lockup Indiana MSNBC May 31, 2013 7:00pm-8:01pm PDT
debris on the road. oklahoma authorities advise people to get off the road if you are on the road, in part because of danger from the storms, in part because of the difficulty of moving around with the flooding there caused by these storms. massive storm system, extremely severe storms from oklahoma city to st. louis. we are still in the middle of msnbc's coverage of this storm. stay with us. good evening, i am melissa rehberger. we follow breaking news out of oklahoma. the oklahoma city and moore area where a rash of violent and complicated storm systems have broken out today, bringing hail and flash flooding. several multiple tornadoes really, don't know how many there are just yet. it has been going on for hours. they have been extremely violent. one plowed through oklahoma city and into moore, oklahoma that was devastated by an ef-5 tornado two weeks ago. there's tornadic activity in norman, oklahoma, 50 miles down
the road. that's home to university of oklahoma, sooners. so that's a college town packed with students and teachers and everybody that works for that facility. we are watching that closely as well. we also know that st. louis is now under tornado warnings as well. we will be keeping a very close eye on st. louis as well. but back to oklahoma, unfortunately there are about 40,000 people without power at this point, and the oklahoma state highway patrol has just confirmed a double fatality in the oklahoma city area around i-40 which is now closed. a mother and her baby were in their car and killed as a result of the storm. that's why people don't want you in cars. unfortunately, a lot of people for whatever reason were in cars today. roads were described as parking lots. people had plenty of warning, many left work early to seek shelter. we don't know if they were trying to get away from the
storm or trying to get home, it is not clear. hopefully we will not be hearing more about fatalities and injuries as a result of that. joining me, the mayor of oklahoma city, mick, you rode out the storm in oklahoma city, is that right? >> that's right, melissa. right now, we have a lot of people looking at the outlying areas for damage. there's localized flooding, hail, high wind. the tornado that killed that mother and child west of oklahoma city, it apparently pulled up as it went over the oklahoma city city limits. i imagine it had to touchdown in city limits, but i don't know. all in all, very fortunate tonight. the night is not over. our fingers are still crossed.
we feel we came out as best as you could hope. >> give us a sense on a day like this, when people have been heavily warned the storm systems are pulling through and can easily spawn violent tornadoes like we saw today, how does oklahoma city and places react, what do people do differently, do they follow orders, are there plenty of shelters to hide in? >> we had about 48 hours' warning with this storm, been telling us a couple days this is going to be a high risk area. i think most people were tuned into the media around 4:00, 5:00, just when the storm started to stir up in western oklahoma. when that happens, they generally produce tornadic type activity by the time they reach oklahoma city metro area. i think at 5:00, 6:00, we were quite concerned. this tornado was i think a much, much smaller and less potent tornado than the one that struck moore a couple weeks ago.
as i mentioned earlier, the track was a little bit different, it started a little north of that track, then took kind of a sudden turn to the south, southeast and actually headed for the moore and norman area, much of the same area that received the damage earlier. this tornado was nothing like the last one. >> okay. looking at pictures from earlier, you see an enormous wall cloud that spawns this giant tornado we were talking about, mick. where did you ride it out? were you at city hall? >> i was not. i live downtown and when it approached the city, i went down into the basement area of my apartment building and i was down there 10 or 15 minutes, then came up. using cell phones, you can monitor television with live streaming. i was able to come back up once i was fairly certain that one storm cell had passed us by. then i came up here to see if
more was developing. hadn't seen anything yet. the night is not over. it feels like it is over for oklahoma city for the night, but we still got our eye on the western sky and still have the media turned on. >> can you give people a sense who are not familiar with this, obviously it looks absolutely terrifying, and it is. can you give people a sense what it is like to be in a shelter and feeling that storm roll overhead? >> well, most people stay secure in their homes, don't seek public shelter. i happen to live in a multi tenant building, so i was gathered around with a few other people that happened to be downtown, but you know, in oklahoma city you learn to live with the concerns of tornadoes, but it doesn't effect your day-to-day life, but you keep an eye on it. you get 15 or 30 minutes away, and it appears something might be imminent, you will seek shelter knowing that in a few minutes it will have moved past.
if you follow direction to the lowest level of the house, interior room, you're going to be fine 999 times out of 1,000. the tornado that hit two weeks ago was an extremely big tornado that was violent, came in the daytime, was also slow moving. that was an extremely unusual, dangerous storm. the vast majority of the time, dealing with tornadic activity on a lesser level, a lot of us are spooked because of the one two weeks ago. >> what are you hearing about damage not just in oklahoma city but surrounding areas? >> yeah, i don't have many reports. i have a feeling that moore, norman area probably have damage and definitely in the el reno area, west of oklahoma city. that's where it crossed i-40 and i think you had some trucks and cars that were, you know, passing along that major thoroughfare and probably got dumped over.
we are going to have localized flooding, hail, straight line winds, still some power outages, but at this point i can't verify any significant damage in oklahoma city, though we are still looking into it. >> are you surprised that so many people were in their cars? aside from the mother and child who tragically were killed today, they were in their car on i-40, we also have the weather channel's mike bettes whose car was destroyed because they couldn't get out of the way in time, he is fine, thank god, heard a report of a hood of a truck ripped off by the storm. why are so many people on the roads? >> yeah, i was surprised by that, and it came through the metro area 6:30, 7:00 time frame. people shouldn't have been coming home from work at that time time of day. i wonder if the tornadoes from a couple weeks ago didn't frighten people so badly this time they
were taking no chances and trying to evade it by car. that's a very unwise thing to do, because the worst place you can be in a tornado is in your car. if i am right with that guesstimation why the interstate was packed with cars, i hope people learned their lesson because, you know, you want to be inside a building, preferably on the lowest you can get if you can't get to a basement. >> oklahoma city mayor, mick cornett, glad you're okay and the city faired okay. we hear 40,000 are without power, including the will rogers airport where thousands hunkered down in a tunnel under the airport as the storm rolled through. let's go to dillon dryer for a look at the storms we saw earlier and what we will see the rest of the night. >> we are going to see through
the rest of the night chance of strong thunderstorms, but that threat, especially in oklahoma city of tornadoes, very powerful tornadoes, is lessening at this point. i want to show you this map here. it doesn't look like much, but the red boxes indicate areas where we still have tornado watches in effects through eastern missouri, down through areas across central and southern illinois. you see the filled in red boxes across southwestern illinois. we are going to see that's where the severe thunderstorm warnings are now. we are going to see a chance of possibly seeing still some stronger storms and heavy torrential downpours. we have flood warnings up and down the mississippi and missouri rivers, there is a pretty good chance we will see flash flooding with the torrential downpours. you can see areas like central missouri, southwestern illinois where we have the threat of torrential downpours. closer look at oklahoma itself, there's moore, oklahoma, and
norman is south of that, shawnee, where we had the most recent tornado warning issued. those have been let to expire, still torrential downpours, frequent cloud to ground lightning and stronger winds within the storms, but the tornado warnings themselves have been let go after a very busy several hours with that first tornado warning just west of el reno several hours ago. those now are starting to weaken, conditions are getting more favorable for things to be more stable, and we're losing that threat and potential of severe storms because we lost a lot of the sunshine, too, as we get closer to nighttime. that helps the atmosphere be more stable and we see improvements as far as severity of the storms. we will still see strong storms through the night, but threat of tornadoes going down at this point. >> this has been a very unique day. we have massive flooding. we had all different sizes of hail, lots and lots of rain, and especially the one you and i
were watching this afternoon, there was so much rain wrapped around it, you couldn't see the tornado itself, but it was at least a half mile wide as we looked at it hours ago. in this tornado, i learned something new today. it had several vortexes involved. can you explain, is that rare? >> you need a very strong storm to produce a multi vortex system. basically what that is, you see the videos, you see the live shots of tornadoes that come down from the cloud, the funnel clouds reach the ground, and you have the typical tornado, then it goes back up. but the situation we saw today was this massive thunderstorm that produced several tornadoes, and from these tornadoes it was so big, a mile wide in diameter, you had almost smaller tornadoes, mini tornadoes circling within the larger tornado itself, so instead of just that one vortex, you had multiple vortices, vortex is
another word for a funnel cloud. when you talk about multiple funnel clouds, it shows you how big the original tornado was, the original funnel cloud was to produce multiple tornadoes within that system. >> it sounds so menacing. >> and it was. >> absolutely, thank you. we go to kelly cane of oklahoma emergency services who is i believe on the phone with us. can you hear me, kelly? >> i can hear you. >> thank you for being on with us. i know it has been a very busy day for you. tell us a round up of how the state faired and what we expect to see the rest of the night. >> well, hate to say it, we still don't know how the state faired right now. we know there are still storms moving through the state and we still have a lot of hail, rain going on out there, the tornadoes touched down in el reno, oklahoma city, some other areas, norman, but we haven't had a chance yet to assess the
damage. we know there's damage out there, right now, the main story is heavy flooding in central oklahoma and also really bad situation with the roads being backed up, a lot of people on the roads which can be very dangerous. >> i'm sure that is very frustrating, i know people are warned nonstop to not be on the road and be in their car. is that frustrating for you? >> no, it is just a safety concern. we just want to make sure people aren't in the path of additional storms that may pass through. we know that these storms may continue through the night. we really want to encourage people to try to get off the roads if possible and get to a safe place and take shelter if needed. >> can you give an idea of your job with emergency services on a
day like this? what's the first thing you do and your greatest concern? >> well, right now, at the emergency operations center we are working to coordinate available resources. we are working with local jurisdictions across the state who have available search and rescue teams and other types of resources that are available when these local communities are hit by storms and need them. >> i need to move on. kelly cane of oklahoma emergency services, thank you very much for joining us. i appreciate it. let's go to nbc's janet shamlian that rode it out hunkered underground at will rogers airport. you are in downtown now, is that right? >> reporter: yeah, we made our way from the airport to downtown which was a harrowing trip. as the previous guest mentioned, there was substantial flooding, almost couldn't get out of the
airport, there's a lot of water, debris on the road, and no power near the airport. we made it to downtown where there is power. very few people are on the roads where we were. the sky is are still very ominous. i imagine by now the airport may be close to releasing people. i just got a new alert we are under severe thunderstorm warning, but at one point, melissa, 1200 or so people in that shelter which is a tunnel essentially that runs from the airport to the parking garage. i was in the airport when the sirens went off and people very quickly went to this underground facility which serves as a shelter, everyone from pilots to passengers, tsa folks, including people who knew of the shelter in the airport, people drove to the airport to get to that underground. had no reason to be there. >> interesting, they used that
as their shelter, that's where they decided to go. that's interesting. janet, i want to point out the fact we are showing pictures of severe flooding and they're stunning. we're seeing cars underwater. >> reporter: i hate to say it, we did what everybody tells you not to do today in order to get to broadcasting live, small rental car driving through two feet plus of water. don't recommend doing that again and i wouldn't. it is all over the place. >> there were multiple threats, the tornado, straight line winds, powerful straight line winds, hail and all of this flooding. this has been an extraordinary weather event today. >> reporter: there's a lot of debris down, trees, railroad tracks that had something strewn over the tracks, and again, people are not out at this point, the sky is a very ominous gray and then light. how it often looks after a
storm. but we're still getting heavy rain, had hail for awhile. just really a bad situation. >> janet, stay with me. want to show pictures of st. louis under a tornado warning now, seeing pick youtures. we see damage to what looks like a home, house has debris in the front yard, from that house or another, we don't know. severe weather has in fact touched down in st. louis today. janet, want to go back to your experience this afternoon. it must have been a little scary even as a seasoned journalist to be herded underground. how did people handle it. >> reporter: people were fairly calm. not entirely, but you hear go underground. so this was as underground as you get, and it is a corridor
about a third of a mile long, so it can accommodate plenty of people, it is not that wide. airport folks did a great job, came through with a megaphone, there are two systems he said, we are in the direct path of one, we are under warnings for them both. one point they said this is it, put your hands over your head, move away from what few windows were down there. we felt, you could feel the force of like the wind. we lost power down there temporarily. for the most part, people kept calm. i think everyone was trying to use a cell phone and that was unsuccessful for the most part. it was a new experience, i am more used to hurricanes. i felt safe there, but it is not an experience you want to do often. >> we just saw a picture of baseball sized hail, compared to
a baseball. that will kill you, damage your home, break your windows. if you're out in that, that hail can severely injure a person. >> reporter: i think the concern -- >> go ahead. >> reporter: just from the short trip from the airport to get downtown, jogging back and forth, trying to avoid trees and parts of signs and just scattered debris and litter that is all over the place, with no one else on the road, it was challenging for us. as soon as everyone gets in vehicles or tries to get out of the airport, it will put things at a stand still. >> it is heartening to know that clearly the airport personnel have been highly trained on this. and when you consider we're not talking about people that are used to this threat. people are flying in and out, have no idea what to do. the fact the airport is so prepared to handle people, to organize people, to know where to bring them, it is heartening. i would imagine a lot of people
were from out of town, had no idea what was going on. >> reporter: yeah, exactly. they came through, said we have limited water, what children and babies need water now. there was a team spirit there. i did sense after an hour and a half or so nerves were frayed, people were anxious to get out, but we were still under a tornado warning. we stayed there until another teammate of mine jack lewis said i saw the parking garage, it is starting to slide, at that point we made a decision to leave and head downtown, which is our present location outside the chesapeake auditorium. >> janet shamlian, thank you for joining us. good luck as you continue to follow the storm. >> reporter: thank you. >> want to show you pictures, a number of sporting events were going on in oklahoma city today. obviously they have been cancelled. oklahoma city is home to the
college softball world series. these young women were herded into what is hopefully a safe place underground, they're there from around the country, to compete in the world softball series. the day didn't go as planned. let's go to betsy randolph of oklahoma highway patrol. i would imagine you are all very busy today. >> let me tell you, it has been absolutely chaotic. the storms that touched down were so widespread, they just essentially tracked along i-40. they came through oklahoma city metro area, went south on i-35. we had multiple crashes, multiple overturned vehicles, including semis and trailers. we know a mother and baby were killed tonight as they traveled on interstate 40, a heartbreaking situation. still trying to assess the damage and how many people were
effected by the storm. >> i would imagine it is a major concern, not only to get word to people in your state and familiar with days like this, i would imagine it is terrifying in your business knowing people might be driving through and don't know to listen to the weather, don't know what that storm up ahead really is. >> think think it may simply be rain, and as they drive into the storm, if we are unable to stop the traffic on the interstate, and troopers were quick to get there and shut that interstate down, as you can imagine, the various entrance ramps from city streets and you're right, if somebody is traveling through and don't know and aren't listening, they could be listening to their own music, not even to a radio, not know this is a tornado that they're
driving into, and it is a heartbreaking situation. it is one of those situations where we feel very reactionary, we are at mercy to the weather. these tornadoes are so dangerous and deadly and when a tornado like this comes through, and multiple tornadoes, so widespread, we are vulnerable. we tell drivers and folks driving through, obviously interstate 40 and interstate 35 are shut down with multiple power lines on the interstate, high water in some areas making roads impassable, and multiple crashes to assess and get people that are injured into various medical facilities. >> which, you know, it needs to be said this presents a great risk to your patrol officers.
>> absolutely. we have multiple troopers, some involved in the large hail we talked about. they're giving us damage. some had to seek shelter as they were out assisting people in crashes as some of the tornadoes then -- they were sporadic in the way they would track where we thought they had gone ahead and moved off to the east, then a storm would present itself behind us, and we had troopers had to seek shelter, some of them their vehicles were stuck in the mud, some stuck in high water, and first responders and our hearts are broken at the loss of life tonight, and thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families. we want folks to know if you're on the interstate and drive into something that appears to be a tornado, we ask you to get your vehicle off the roadway and then abandon your car. i know it sounds crazy, but the
truth of the matter is that you cannot ride out a tornado inside a vehicle. you'll get sucked out of your vehicles, out of the window and out of your seat belts. we ask people do not seek shelter under an elevated structure because that becomes a wind tunnel, your body will become a pin cushion for flying debris and you're going to get sucked out of that structurstru. we ask you to lay in a ditch, lay into a low lying area. you're not going to have cover from the hail, but your body will be less likely to be sucked up in a tornado if you're in a low lying area such as a ditch. >> that was my next question. that would be terrifying. as the last resort, that's what you do. betsy randolph from oklahoma highway patrol, thank you very much and good luck. >> thank you. >> kfor la tasha gibbens
reported from a convenience store a few minutes ago. >> earlier you said one of the major highways, maybe i-40, looks like a demolition derby out there. >> sure does. there are cars everywhere and i have an unfortunate bit of information to pass along, there's a confirmed double fatality, a white pontiac montana suv was thrown upside down, we know a mother and her baby were killed in this accident. highway patrol just removed the victims of traffic out here, a stand still. eastbound lanes of i-40, just west of banner road, it is absolute chaos out here. semis are turned over, the truck checkpoint with semis through the weigh station was decimated. there are some farms out here that have been destroyed, there's debris all over the interstate, trees split in half.
there's a building, not sure what it is, they sell some industrial equipment, says performance something, but half the building has been torn away. i can't make out the entire sign. a lot of destruction here today. and again, tragically, i tell you with a heavy heart, we had a double fatality, mom and her baby killed in an accident, the car was flipped off the interstate about an hour ago. >> oh, man, hate hearing that. >> thank you, lance. >> la tasha givens is out there. >> reporter: i am live at 89th and penn. there are people, some in the store that ran here for cover, it was one of the few places that still had power. you can see this power is still flickering. want to show you how scared people are. if you look behind me, you can see this door. we are told the store closed like many businesses, the door was locked. people were so afraid, someone busted out the glass, it was
cleaned up in recent minutes and the manager has been very accommodating. they called in employees and are allowing people to buy necessary items because people are planning to camp here because they don't want to go back in the storm. they're a little concerned about which direction, it is changing because that happened so rapidly. if you look here, you can see all of the cars parked here. some people getting gas, some people just here waiting out the storm. i talked to one family that came here from yukon. they had five people, seven dogs in this little car, that was the only way to get from yukon to here trying to ride out the storm. talked to others here with children and are basically staying here for dinner time, buying food inside the convenience store and just not quite sure what to do. we're going to stay here, gather more details, talk to more people. back to you guys. >> you look around behind you, what do you see, you see trees down, roofs off. what will you do about all of
the damage, sir? >> just clean it up, get it fixed, get it back. >> how long have you lived here? >> i have been here ten years in april. >> and have you been just driving around looking at other damage? >> no. we were down at friends of ours house, heard about it, came right home. >> you in fact came up to us when you saw scott, you have been driving around the area, this is home for you. >> it is very close, don't live far from here. i drove down the street to see what i would see, and what i have seen is dramatic. obviously this, you see the roof is gone. it is not just here in the yard, that debris stretches across the street. some of the roof trusses are across the street, trees are knocked down. obviously the power is down. one thing we want to emphasize, stay away from downed power
lines. this area is served by an electric cooperative. we have seen their trucks out and around. >> we saw, scott, a truck come in here just about ten minutes ago. we know they're in the area, working to get lights on. is there any way to tell if this is straight line winds, any way to note from the damage? >> a little hard to say, it is dark, it is early into it. obviously the damage is significant. it is not just here, the subdivision behind had damage. one of the things i was talking with neighbors there, they said we think -- what was that? >> need to get to mike roberts. >> mike, go ahead. >> i wanted to add to what you were saying, scott, i didn't want to interrupt. i wanted to take us back through time. we will go back to about 7:50. you can see the signature on this. let's take the radar. i am going to show you as the
storm rolls through what scott was talking about, you see the storm really wind up. i hope we can go back to them momentarily, to add to what they were talking about, you lose a roof to a casino, that's no small wind. if they're still available, toss back to them. >> it is hard to say if this was a tornado, one thing we know, there were circulations in the area. i was watching on the radar at home, had our family in the basement being safe, that's one thing we actually do. the thing with the neighbors behind here, with their damage, they said look, i have stuff on the patio way over there, some of it way over here as well. it spread it all different directions. that's one of the signs you look for. >> that rotation, yes. you were driving around. what was it like for you driving in? when we were driving in, we saw big trees on the side of the
road, saw people trying to clear debris so people could get through. >> when i came down here, trees were still in the road, i was following the fire trucks and ambulances through. the fire protection district, st. charles sheriffs up here now, trying to block things off. they set up a command post, i believe at kisker and 94, because this damage goes up the road, through whitmore, towards pitman hill. >> do you know how much radius? >> i think it is a few miles lodge, damage trail is a few miles long. i don't know in st. louis county, heard them talk about that a few minutes ago, but it is a straight swathe, and we are hearing there's not only a lot of power out but a lot of damage in those areas as well. >> we understand mike roberts has more information.
>> want to get back to the areas east of st. louis where we have that active tornado warning, alive, well, in effect until 9:45. the storm is basically coming into illinois now, one of the bigger cities in the eastern portion of the viewing area. >> some of the other cities in the path, ramsey, browns town, ferena, wrights corner, st. paul, st. james. that tornado warning is still in effect until 9:45. it is this bowing here that pushes out. >> we are listening to the local affiliate in st. louis where they've seen some sort of severe weather tonight. you heard them, they can't tell if it was a tornado or straight line winds. they say the storm path goes on for miles. we are waiting to see more pictures, hopefully not hear news of tragedies coming out of
this. we are also following a rash of tornadoes that happened in oklahoma today. oklahoma, moore, of course, you are all familiar with because of the ef-5 that touched down two weeks ago. also reaching into norman, 50 miles down the road, home to university of oklahoma. a very populated college town which presents a lot of worry. there are two confirmed fatalities, a mother and child in a car. we heard from a trooper, that's the last place you want to be, you would be better in a ditch than in the car. that's how serious it is. let's go to dylan dryer with a look at the rest of the evening. it may not be over yet. >> it is not over yet. the threat of tornadoes has certainly gone down, but we're still going to see powerful severe thunderstorms through the rest of the night as this slow moving cold front continues to track eastward. you can see the thunderstorms extend from northern indiana
through illinois right through missouri, still extending into parts of central oklahoma. the biggest area of concern right now is actually through that extreme part of eastern missouri, also over into parts of southwestern illinois. that's where we still have tornado warnings in effect. the tornadoes we saw in oklahoma today obviously from storm chasers on the ground, we saw the actual funnel clouds from the base of the clouds touch the ground, we saw confirmed tornadoes. the difference with the tornado warnings that we're seeing across illinois and ones we saw through missouri, those were not confirmed spotted tornadoes. you looked at a little of rotation off the radar, and that hints at the fact that there is rotation, there's a good chance there's some sort of tornado type storm, and the next day they go out and assess the damage. you heard a reporter saying instead of damage in a straight
line, you have a piece of debris here, another piece here. that's when they assess if it was officially a tornado. we have very powerful storms, straight line wind gusts, 70 to 90 miles per hour with some storms. we have seen reports of hail, quarter sized hail up to grapefruit hail out of some of the storms, and it is this line of storms that will continue through the night. maybe not as severe as seeing confirmed tornadoes on the ground, it is harder to see the tornadoes now that it is dark. the roll of spotters isn't used at nighttime, which as you saw today is a huge help figuring where the storms are going and the towns themselves that are going to be hit. the streets themselves that are going to get hit. we are going to see strong storms. could still deal with hail and very strong gusty straight line winds, that's damage that just goes one direction as opposed to spiraling around. that threat is still with us through the night. but the severe threat of tornadoes, the damaging tornadoes like the ones in
oklahoma, that threat has weakened for now. >> thank you very much. let's go to moore, oklahoma. we have jeremy lewis with oklahoma city police on the phone with us. my apologies, jerry or jeremy? >> jeremy lewis with moore police department. >> thank you very much for being here with us today. obviously people must have been terrified hearing another tornado was heading their direction today. are you hearing any reports of damage? >> yes. we are still trying to assess the damage. we have damage in a large area of the city. haven't seen any significant damage but power lines down, different trees down, damage to buildings. most of the city is without power, having trouble seeing. we have officers trying to get around. the bad part is it is flooded, literally every street. numerous streets we can't get down because the water is three foot deep. >> we are seeing pictures on our
air of massive flooding. >> it is really hampering efforts. we have patrol cars stranded because we tried to go into the areas and water came up over the car. not only are we dealing with damage, but dealing with numerous streets that are flooded. >> what was the reaction in moore, they have been prepared for 48 hours this was possible, but how did the city react? >> you know, there was just an eery feeling that -- it just got bad again really quick, it was northwest of our city, which we thought we were okay, for whatever reason the storm turned southeast, which they never do, but this one did, ended upcoming right through pretty much the entire city. had officers trying to get out of the way going east, just
randomly tornadoes were coming down, basically through moore, east of moore into norman. normally if you go south, you can get out of it, which is what we were trying to do. we were literally running from tornadoes. >> do you recall a year like this ever? >> i honestly, i don't remember a couple week period like this, where we're, you know, the same area is getting hammered by severe storms. but i've never had to run like we did today. we literally could not get out of the way of the tornadoes. we ended up driving almost 45 miles in a circle, trying to dodge where they were coming down. there was just so many different areas that they were telling us and it seemed like each area we went to, another tornado was coming down in that area. >> i think that's what a lot of people were doing. a lot of people were out on the roads today. we have several reports of cars damaged of people trying to stay out of the way of this thing.
>> it was an enormous storm. whenever we left, it started going southeast, i-35 on the southbound was completely stopped. people could not get through. we ended up having some cars overturned on i-35. we don't have any injury reports as of this time, but again, a lot of the area is flooded and there are some areas we haven't been able to access yet. >> jeremy lewis from moore police department, thank you for being on the phone. do stay safe. >> thank you. >> let's go to greg carmen of the national weather service from norman, oklahoma, is that right? >> that's right, i am with the storm prediction center, national weather service in norman. >> you had a rough day of predicting tornadoes today, didn't you? >> it has been quite a day actually watching this system develop and then waiting until the late afternoon before you really saw rapid development, explosive development of thunderstorms over oklahoma city area. still seeing a lot of constant
lightning, hail, high winds, rain falling, and power out in norman as well now. >> it was probably the most extraordinary weather day i've ever seen as far as -- i lived in oklahoma and experienced a bit of this, including may 3rd, 1999, but we heard very, very unique things today. perhaps you can take us through some of these things. for instance, the one that was over oklahoma city for a long time was reported to have multiple vortexes. how rare is that? >> actually most tornadoes have some tendency to have multiple vortices, very turbulent atmosphere. when you see thunderstorms rotate, produce tornadoes, you see numerous tornadoes around the main core of the thunderstorm. what was unusual about this one is that it was relatively slow moving. you saw repeat development of tornadoes within the larger thunderstorm complex, moving very slowly across the oklahoma city metro area through the evening hours. that was rather unusual.
>> there were several elements i thought made this storm unique, perhaps not to you, but first time i heard a few of these that involved strong straight line winds, a lot of tornadic activity, very large hail, now massive flooding. >> yes. all of these hazards combined into one massive thunderstorm complex. what we saw in the beginning of the day was warm air aloft, tends to suppress thunderstorm development, it keeps the atmosphere essentially capped. once that cap breaks, there's a tremendous amount of energy in the atmosphere released in the form of intense thunderstorms like we saw, and it really was an interesting situation where most of the day we saw very little in the way of thunderstorms, then all of a sudden rapid development during the evening hours. >> greg carmen from national weather service, thank you for explaining a few of those hard to explain things today and good luck going forward. >> thank you, melissa, have a good evening.
>> and you. let's go back to meteorologist dylan dryer, getting amazing pictures of flooding, that one there, cars are floating and underwater. what exactly is the flooding situation on the ground at this point? >> the flooding situation is a longer duration concern throughout the rest of the night as the torrential downpours continue. we have flash flood warnings across a good part of the midwest back into the plains. there you see the water rushing. imagine taking a wet sponge, the ground has been damp awhile, the area inundated with heavy rain for a long time, several days. imagine taking this wet sponge, turning on the faucet full blast on the sponge. water has nowhere to go, splashes all over. on a bigger scale has nowhere to go. rivers are flooded. we are seeing extreme flooding of missouri, mississippi rivers. the area is drenched with water. then you have not moderate rain but torrential downpours and unfortunately it cannot drain anywhere fast enough.
so it piles up on the streets. we see it on the sidewalks. you see it in parking lots, parking garages, you see it basically go wherever it can go. and unfortunately this water still has nowhere to go, and it still is pouring in the same areas. flash flooding is a concern through the night. all warnings in effect until 4:00 a.m. central time, that's just for flash flooding. those floods that create rushing water like you see on the screen, you also have regular flooding, river banks and creeks that are still going to overflow their banks for days because the midwest is getting more heavy rain tomorrow. that's only going to add to flooding. parts of the mississippi and missouri rivers, especially in st. louis area, aren't expected to crest until early next week, like tuesday or wednesday, and it is at that point we could see record high crests like what we saw in 1995 in the st. louis area. so that's going to be a major
concern. you know, you focus so much on the tornadoes and on the wind gusts and damage you see immediately, but the flooding is one of the things that is not going to go away too quickly, and unfortunately it is water damage that creates so many problems for areas that just continue to see more and more rain. >> also the immediate fear when you consider okay, a tornado rolled through, or high winds and hail, causing debris, downed power lines, there's so much danger in the water. >> so much danger in the water. you are trying to walk across the street to get back to your home safe, but you don't know what's under the water. half the time it is so full of debris and dirt that it is muddy, dark, you don't know how fast the current is running in some of the quick made rivers that are just rolling through the streets. on top of that, electricity to worry about, downed trees and power lines, don't know where the electricity is flowing. there's so many concerns.
>> thank you. let's go to kfor, listen to their coverage for a minute. >> getting a shot of their little one next to the blown out back windshield. >> explain, were they being sucked in? is that why she was working hard? >> the tornado will inhale and exhale. what it did, it got bigger fast, and made a violent turn really fast. you know, if you watch that, you saw that actually happening. it looked like it was a little ways down the road, little ways down the road, backing up, everything is okay, they're a little outside the circulation, all of a sudden made a turn toward them, got bigger, stuff was flying through the air, they're on the outside of the vortex itself, and it looks very much like it was an f-4 tornado, and may have been able to produce f-5 damage. >> glad emily is okay. >> we are listening to kfor, the
local affiliate watching their coverage of the storm. let's go to janet shamlian who is downtown oklahoma city, who rode out this monster of a storm underground at the airport. you are in downtown oklahoma city? >> reporter: yeah, we made it from will rogers airport in an underground shelter with more than a thousand other people, many of them had planned to fly tonight. to downtown. we are flanked by lightning strikes. my photographer and i are under cover. it is an eery sight. the sky changing colors from light to dark. there's very little traffic, some on the road right now. you know, it has that after the storm smell that i can't show you, and the sound of sirens in
the air. the trip from the airport here, closer to the airport was quite harrowing. there was flooding all over the airport area, as high as two feet in the road. trees, debris, signs down. a quarter mile in the distance you would see lights again, whereas where you're driving it was pitch black. has was very easy for us to get here when it was just us on the road. now as more cars are getting out and people try to leave that underground shelter at the airport, it is not safe to be pulling out of there in about two feet of water. so they've got serious logistical problems on their hand, even though it appears for the moment while we are in midst of a heavy thunderstorm, we are out of danger, we are not out of trouble. i don't think they could even tell the extent of the damage at this point. i couldn't just by our drive
over here because so much is in the dark. >> nbc's janet shamlian, i see lightning behind you, take cover. stay safe out there, see you soon. thank you. >> let's go to the missouri highway patrol, they're under a tornado watch as well, already received some storm damage. thank you for being on the phone with us. tell us what your day has been like and what you're seeing now. >> pretty much started this evening around 7:00 when we got the high winds, not sure if they were straight line winds or tornadoes at this point. we have a lot of road closures there, situations where we have vehicles turned over. we are trying to assess the damage at this point. >> was there warning, time to prepare? >> talking about tornado warnings? >> right. were people informed as of this morning as the weather developed there was potential for this severe weather? >> yes, there was discussion about possible bad weather
pretty much all day. as we got closer to evening, local news stations were warning people it was on the way, coming from pretty much from the west going from kind of the southwest to the northeast. so there was a lot of people should have been aware of this type of storm system was moving in. >> now i don't know much about how st. louis prepares for something like this, compared to someplace like oklahoma, where there probably aren't enough storm shelters but they exist. where are people advised to hide during this? >> we want people to go to the lowest point in the residence, wherever they're at in the building, preferably away from windows. most homes in st. louis, metropolitan area have basements, most do. a good 98% of them have basements, so that's where we tell people to go, to the basement, away from windows, where you have concrete walls there, that's probably the safest place to go. >> is this unusual for st.
louis, this kind of weather event? >> no, it is not, no, absolutely not. we deal with this every year in the spring. this is something that we deal with on a yearly basis. we had some tornadoes go through a couple years ago, devastating. obviously joplin was hit, everybody is aware of that. this is an area that deals with tornadoes on a regular basis. >> what's next for your city as far as assessing damage and finding people that might need help? >> well, at this point we have every available trooper in st. louis area out, a lot of the damage that happened, happened in municipalities and cities with their own law enforcement agencies. so we offer assistance to all of the different agencies. we have some areas on the interstate that we're concerned with at this point, with vehicles possibly being overturned. right now, this just hit not too
long ago, so this is pretty fresh. we are still trying to get out and assess the damage, it is raining out, obviously nighttime here. it is going to take awhile to figure everything out, get out there, make sure everybody is okay. >> stay with me a second, want to tell people what we are seeing. seeing pictures from oklahoma earlier, you can see multiple funnel clouds and eventually tornadoes, three at least in this picture alone. al, in oklahoma now -- i'm sorry, let's go to nbc's dylan dryer. this is incredible video. >> incredible video. >> those are at least three or four. >> that's not sped up too much. those are just wall clouds that dip down to the ground. you have a spiral of rotation from the base of the cloud, also develops on the ground, then they kind of meet, and you can see how they pop down and up.
this is why they're so unpredictable. you know where there's a chance in a general where where the storms will happen, with storm chasers on the ground, you can see when it hits the ground and they're so erratic, and so hard to keep an eye on. with storm systems, you look at the radar like we did all day long, you combine what you see through technology with what you see on the ground, that's why daytime tornadoes, it is helpful to have the spotters on the ground because you can piece all those pieces together. the rotation so fierce in these storms, you can see the debris kicked up, a lot of times over rural areas. the debris picks up a lot more when you're in an urban areas where they're tracked. >> one of the experiences i had, being a storm chaser on days
like this, you watch the wall cloud, the funnel, rope come down, then the funnel, and the saying is we have debris. that's what you say when you know it is a tornado. we have debris. >> that's what causes damage, that flying debris, it is flying with such force. >> it shows you how menacing the storms are, especially when you consider something like today. not only do you have the tornado, but you have the debris, up to baseball and softball sized hail and now flooding. >> exactly. you know, looking at the track the storms took. you can see they don't even stay on the ground long periods of time. storm chasers were caught in the storms. it took sharp turns, people at
ho home. >> we see new video of the tornado. as we face a scary situation overnight, this video shows there could be more damage than we thought, how does the red cross move forward? >> at this point, thanks for having me, melissa, to talk about this. we want to make sure that at this point people are being weather aware and that they're being prepared for what may happen through the next hours as we watch the storms as they go across the midwest. it is really important to make sure you're informed and have a plan. we're just very appreciative of people of the country that have been really supportive of our efforts, been responding in multiple areas and we can respond to multiple disasters at
once, because the people of our country are so generous to take care of our neighbors. we make plans for when this clears in the oklahoma area to start working on additional response to get some of that happening. >> from the red cross in oklahoma, with your work cut out, thank you for joining us. watching unbelievable video from earlier in the day, not sure which twister this was, but that storm chasing video you see proves why they are begging you to stay off the road in storms like this. you see smashed windshields, you saw a hay bail. those are enormous. it was flung out of a field like it was nothing right in front of that moving car, absolutely terrifying. there are two reports of fatalities, unfortunately, in oklahoma, a mother and child who
were in their car. you are advised to never be in the car. we heard earlier if it is between being in the car, laying in a ditch, get out, lie flat in a ditch. you are watching tornado video from earlier. somebody on the road. look at that hay bail. looks like something is on fire. dylan, are you there, can you see this? >> it is unbelievable video, makes you stop in your track. they were driving through this tornado. these are professional storm chasers who are just stuck because of the erratic path of the tornado, and it is amazing to see just how intense the winds are. the hay bails -- >> they're enormous, as big as the car. i want to point out. these storm chasers are really smart, very good at staying out of the way, which speaks to your point, dylan, this changed direction so quickly that people got into trouble today.
>> they really did. this was actually the storm that took that path, developed west of el reno, oklahoma, it traveled along i-40 that caused that road to be shut down. took that right turn to the south, then moved back to the northeast towards the airport and oklahoma city. that created all of the initial alarm. the other two stayed in a straight line, just northwest to southeast, but it was, i don't know if this is the actual tornado they were driving through, there were so many different tornadoes in the bigger system. the path of it, for the tornado chasers themselves who have a full carload of technology to track storms, to get stuck in the middle of it is astounding. >> you can see it is important to point out, they're not trying to be brave, they're trying to get out of the way, save their own lives. you can see in this video as we continue to watch it another car flies by them, looks like it was just about to be picked up,
flung off the road. >> that's the weight of the car. the hay looks like tumble weeds, cars look like match box cars. the wind is so fierce. we have reports of 150 miles per hour winds at one point with this storm. then the speed of the car, and trying to get out of the way. >> for a lot of people seeing this kind of storm damage, especially since two weeks ago, find it so hard to believe wind could do all of this, well, you're looking at it, you know? >> it is coming right at the car. >> slactually seeing it. that's the car, looked like it would come off the road. you look at the size of this debris, debris has been shredded into chunks flying through the air. we are watching pictures from earlier in the state of oklahoma where a giant rash of tornadoes
came out today. there was warning. people were warned this had potential. this was an absolutely massive storm system that spun, we don't even know how many tornadoes, one of which was huge, multiple tornadoes, in the state of oklahoma, where two died today, a mother and baby in their car on i-40, which was since shut down. but there are massive power outages, 40,000 without power tonight in oklahoma. there's massive flooding. it is probably the most dangerous part of things right now. this is msnbc continuing coverage of storm outbreaks, this afternoon in oklahoma, st. louis also had storm damage today, and the threat is not over there yet. we will be continuing to follow this story. dylan, i want to keep watching this video and talking about it because it was very unfortunate because of the path the storm took that people were caught in