Two tornadoes strike Oklahoma, official says “it’s dire right now”

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The National Weather Service issued a tornado emergency for the western Oklahoma City metro area Friday.

The emergency includes the suburbs of Yukon, Bethany and Oklahoma City. A tornado emergency means that a large, destructive tornado is moving into a densely populated area and widespread damage and fatalities are likely.

The town of Moore, which lost 24 people during a May 20 tornado, is also affected.

Two tornadoes have already struck, the National Weather Service said.

State Patrol confirmed late Friday night that  a mother and her baby were killed inside their vehicle after a tornado hit near Oklahoma City.

El Reno, Okla., Mayor Matt White said police and firefighters are checking for damage from a reported tornado, but it’s not clear how bad things are because the city’s cellphone towers are knocked out. Half the city of Mustang is without power, but there were no immediate reports of damage there, said Rod Widmann of that city’s fire department. El Reno is about 30 miles west of Oklahoma City; Mustang is 17 miles southwest of that city.

Multiple tractor-trailers have overturned on Interstate 40 in Canadian County — which is west of Oklahoma City and includes the city of El Reno.

“We are desperately asking people to abandon Interstate 40” and head east or south because of severe weather there, Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper Betsy Randolph said. She said there are reports of injuries, and authorities are trying to get people to local hospitals.

“We’re in a desperate situation,” Randolph said. “It’s dire right now.”

Meanwhile, a National Weather Service sensor at Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma City has recorded a 71-mph wind gust. The airport was evacuated due to the threat of tornadoes

The service said the “tornado threat is decreasing” in and around Oklahoma City and that  “(We) may see brief weak tornadoes along leading edge of storms pushing southeast.”