The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 05/31/13
RACHEL MADDOW, HOST: And thanks to you at home for being with us this
hour. It is now 9:00 p.m. here on the East Coast.
And we are tracking another round ever potentially deadly tornadoes in
the state of Oklahoma. God bless Oklahoma.
It was just one week ago last Monday that a massive, EF-5 tornado
touched down in the city of Moore, Oklahoma, suburb of Oklahoma City. The
Moore tornado killed 24 people. Tonight, that same area in Central
Oklahoma is hunkering down once again and it`s almost impossible to
Within the last hour, a mile wide tornado was reported to have touched
down just west of Oklahoma City. There have been reports of overturned
vehicles, of downed power lines, as well as damage to a number of
structures already in the area.
For the last 90 minutes or so, these tornadoes have essentially been
traveling eastbound right along one of the major highways in central
Oklahoma, right along Interstate 40. That highway has been completely shut
down under the Oklahoma City area and the Oklahoma Highway Patrol has been
warning motorists to exit the highway and immediately seek shelter.
Interstate 40 funnels right into downtown Oklahoma City. And that appears
to be the path that these tornadoes have chosen to take tonight.
Among the major population centers in the path of the storm is not a
city at all, its Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma City. According to
the airport`s Web site more than a thousand passengers were moved to
underground tunnels and shelters inside the airport tonight. All flights
in and out of Will Rogers, obviously, have been cancelled.
NBC`s Janet Shumlin is at the airport and she reports to us that
passengers inside the airport were moved away from the windows. They were
told to go underground. They were instructed to put their hands on their
Now in terms of injuries and I have to say potential fatalities, “The
Associated Press” is reporting as of now that a number of motorists along
Interstate 40 have been hurt under this storm. And that others are either
missing or stranded at this hour.
Our local affiliate in Oklahoma City, KFOR, is doing an amazing job
tonight. They report thus far that more than 22,000 people in the area are
without power. They report that these power outages extend to the historic
district in the state capital right in Oklahoma City.
But again, the breaking news at this hour is that central Oklahoma is
yet again right in the path of another massive storm system tonight. The
storm has already produced a reported tornado just west of Oklahoma City
and within the last hour, a tornado emergency has also been declared for
parts of Moore, Oklahoma. And the reason that name is so familiar to you
is because Moore is the city that faced a devastating tornado and almost
unbelievable destruction just a little bit more than a week ago.
I want to bring in MSNBC meteorologist Dylan Dreyer who`s been
focusing on this very closely.
Dylan, what is the latest on the trajectory and where it`s heading
DYLAN DREYER, MSNBC METEOROLOGIST: Well, it is right now moving
southeast at only 20 miles per hour. Looking at radar, you see these boxes
that keep popping up p. I kept the tornado warning boxes in effect on this
radar. So, that`s what you are seeing flashing across the screen there.
And you see just south of Oklahoma City, which at one point was under
this tornado warning, you can see there is Moore, Oklahoma. And it has
been in and out of these tornado warnings for the last half hour to 45
And the one right over Moore right now that extends east across I-40,
which is that highway that was shutdown. It is in effect until 8:30. But
not only is it for the possibility of these tornadoes that this entire
thunder storm has been producing these tornadoes for the past several hours
from that town El Reno, you see on the left side of the screen there. This
is how long it has been taking to move south and east.
It`s been a very, very slow process. But within niece storms, not
only to they have potential of touching down these tornadoes, these funnel
clouds, but there are reports of 80 mile per hour wind gust. Those are you
straight line wind gusts. Tennis ball to softball sized hail also reported
along with torrential downpours and the danger of lightning.
So, you know, I watched this develop a couple hours ago. Slowly
watched it trek across Interstate 40 and has been in that time that it`s
become, you know, going from a rural area storm to a much more urban area
and hearing that Oklahoma City itself was evacuated and the hotels and
airport with everyone going under ground, that is what local meteorologists
MADDOW: In terms of – sorry, go ahead.
DREYER: Sorry. They are just saying, you have to get under ground.
It is not safe enough with storms this big to just be in an interior room
or bathroom. Underground is the safest place to be at this moment.
MADDOW: Dylan, in terms of people watching nationally and trying out
their bearings in terms of these warnings and when they are in effect and
everything, we should say, right now, it`s 9:04 p.m. on the East Coast.
It`s 8:04 p.m. local time in Oklahoma City. You will hear us give times on
the air tonight that are specific to anybody who might be in harms way in
this central Oklahoma storm system.
Dylan, let me just ask you for your opinion, talking about a storm
system moving so slowly, talking about it traveling at about 20 miles per
hour, which is slow for a storm system like this, does that tell us
anything about the eventual damage that it might cause or anything about
the strength of the storm?
We`re used to – we`re used to connecting the speed of the storm with
strength of the storm when it comes to hurricanes, for example.
DREYER: Right. Of course, and, you know, the faster it is moving,
the faster winds are in a hurricane situation.
But what I`m talking about when I say, you know, the tornado itself is
moving 20 to 30 miles per hour, that`s the actual tornado. But the bigger
picture is the storm that`s producing these tornadoes. That`s the one
that`s not moving quite as quickly. So you have, you know, this big cloud
that produces these tornadoes and these are moving quickly. But the storm
itself that`s capable of producing these tornadoes is very sluggish and
it`s moving over the same area for a long period of time.
This tornado watch is in effect until midnight Central Time. That`s
1:00 East Coast time. That`s a long period of time. And these storms have
this history of producing tornadoes as we`ve seen. Unfortunately, they are
under this threat for several more hours.
MADDOW: MSNBC meteorologist Dylan Dreyer, I know we will check back
with you. Thanks, Dylan. I appreciate it.
We are going now to the NBC affiliate in Oklahoma City, which is KFOR.
They cover these severe storms with incredible knowledge and detail. There
is no better coverage anywhere in the country than what KFOR is doing right
now. Let`s go to them.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bank statement from the El Reno area floating into
Luther. That`s Canadian County all the way to the east side.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That`s quite a ways.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: East side of Oklahoma County. So, we are hearing
about things we have no doubt we will get serious damage reports coming in
a little bit later. But, right now, we are trying to track where this
thing is going and to get folks out of the way of that. We also have crews
looking for damage and injuries as well.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And we have been talking about power poles you
have hard about that, seeing pictures. We now have 40,000 metro residents
without power. We believe those numbers will rise. That is being
currently reported that that`s those without power. Another big problem is
flash flooding. And we have been told that people at Crossroads Mall are
stuck in the parking lot because of the flooding. And they are having a
hard time getting out.
Again, we are having a hard time with rescue crews and emergency
vehicles getting to those who need help at this point in time. So, if you
have a loved one who you know is in the area, please keep your cell lines,
you know, keep your cell phones right by you. Make sure you are in contact
with that person, because they may have a tough time getting out of there.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We – at one point, we had 1,000 people, 1,000 in
the tunnels underneath Will Rogers World Airport. The storm was coming
that way and they got a thousand people under there. Also the hockey game,
the Barons playoff hockey game, they today get people into the Chesapeake
Arena to keep them safe from the storm as well. All that we believe was
handled very well.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Very well, and we believe that those people are
We want to go back over to Mike, of course, who`s watching all these
tornadoes popping up on the ground and continuing – Mike.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, here`s what we have right now, Meg, these
tornadoes that we have here in the south metro, I may be wrong, but they
appear to be reasonably weak right now. These little – there is one near
Newcastle. There`s one in northeast Norman. And there`s one over here
near Draper Lake.
All three appear to be reasonably weak, I wouldn`t say weak weak, but
reasonably weak. The strongest one is out here by Minco. That has the
tornado warning on it as well.
Let`s go to Lance West (ph). He is on the damage track out on I-40
with an update live – Lance.
LANCE WEST (via telephone): Mike, we are traveling about five miles
an hour in westbound lanes of I-40. It is a mess out here. There`s debris
all over the interstate. We have seen several overturned vehicles.
There appears to be a cattle ranch about two miles west on I-40 that
took a direct hit. And that scene is just spread all over the interstate.
Broken power lines, trees. Highway patrol troopers out here all over the
place trying to make sure that everyone is OK.
But it`s a mess, my friend. This is going to be a huge clean-up
project. We just hope and pray that there are no fatalities because there
are cars all over the place.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Lance, appreciate that.
Let`s go back to the storm tracker. We`re going to check with Mark
Dillard here next and coming up here. So, this is strong circulation here.
This is a dangerous storm out here by Minco and it is traveling
southeastwards, so you see Bridge Creek, over towards Newcastle, Lloyd,
Noble, – yes, over toward Washington and Noble Lloyd, Noble center there.
MADDOW: This is local coverage from KFOR, which is the Oklahoma City
affiliate for NBC.
I want to go now to NBC`s Janet Shumlin who is in an underground
shelter at the Oklahoma City airport.
Janet, thank you so much for calling in.
What can you tell us how things are at the airport, both the weather
scene there and how people are coping?
JANET SHUMLIN, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): All right.
Rachel, first, let me explain that connectivity is very limited. I`m lucky
to have to call out, so may lose me.
There are about 1,200 people now underground in a – basically, it`s a
shelter for us now. But usually a walk way from the parking lot that
connects to the terminal here at Oklahoma City airport. After doing
“Nightly News”, I came here and as soon as I got in the airport, the sirens
sounded and they herded everyone downstairs.
So, at times, they asked us to put our hands over our heads and move
away from the windows, even though we`re in (INAUDIBLE) tunnel. And we`ve
been told one system is over, but we re still very much in danger.
Now, there a window I can see out of. We are getting hail. Heavy,
heavy rain. Dark skies. Lightning about 30 minutes ago. It looks like a
hurricane was pushing against the window, there was so much water, but that
has tapered off some.
Still they are asking everyone to stay underneath here. People are
desperately trying to get signals out and get everyone from pilots to TSA
to passengers to just people who knew that this underground tunnel existed
and came here seeking shelter. Again, some 1,200 people they brought their
pets, children. Airport workers walked through with bottles of water for
children and everyone seems to be calm at this point.
But we are still in the midst after big storm overhead and they are
not letting anyone out any time soon, Rachel.
MADDOW: Yes, Janet, have they given you a timeframe in terms of when
you might get be getting an all-clear or how long they think everyone will
have to stay there.
SHUMLIN: They have been great with updates. A man with a megaphone
has been walking through. And he said, hey, the good news is we are
between systems. But another one is coming. It`s not as severe. He
hasn`t put a time limit here per se. We have been in here, I would say,
approaching 90 minutes.
SHUMLIN: And, you know, every flight is cancelled and everyone
realizes that, but no one is attempting to leave. There are a few windows
can you see out of. People are looking a not trying to hold their cell
phone up and get a signal out, such as I`m doing. But no one is even
thinking of going out in what we are seeing here.
MADDOW: Janet, what they are describing here in terms of our MSNBC
meteorologist, is a very, very slow storm, which is why the tornado
warnings and tornado watches are in place for such windows of time. So,
when they talk about a slow-moving storm and being in between systems,
that`s exactly what we`re seeing in the video that we can access here.
So, please keep us apprised. I know connectivity is difficult. But
please let us know how things pan out at the airport and what happens.
MADDOW: Janet Shumlin calling us from the Oklahoma City airport.
Just to reiterate what she`s saying there, there are 1,200 people in
her estimation who are underground taking shelter at Will Rogers World
Airport in Oklahoma City. They are sheltering in what is effectively a
walk way between the parking lot and the terminal, but it`s underground and
considered to be a safe place. Everybody from TSA employees to passengers
to pilots, to everybody who is in that facility down there, sheltering,
waiting for the all-clear.
But, right now, Janet describes, they are experiencing right now,
hail, heavy rain, lightning and they are expecting further, for the parts
of the storm system to drive through.
I want to bring in to the conversation now, Oklahoma`s lieutenant
governor, Todd Lamb, who we spoke with last week during the devastation and
the aftermath of Moore, Oklahoma.
Mr. Lieutenant Governor, we appreciate you having with us tonight.
LT. GOV. TODD LAMB (R), OKLAHOMA (via telephone): Thank you, Rachel.
MADDOW: What are you able to tell us thus far in about or the scope
of what these storms have done thus far?
LAMB: Well, it`s very preliminary right now. My office is contacted
with the emergency operations center here in Oklahoma, and my chief of
staff moments ago. But it`s too early to tell as far as any assessment at
this time. What we do know from the utility service, this was about 15
minutes go, just over 31,000 are without power right now.
I visited with the Oklahoma Highway Patrol. This is an unofficial
report, Rachel. But visiting with the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, we had some
significant roads and part of interstate by ways, not the major
interstates, but they are underway right now. Some major thoroughfares to
the metro area, which makes getting through very difficult.
I expect to receive, we just have initial reports right now and we
still have tornado sirens going off.
MADDOW: We have been hearing from KFOR, from our affiliate in
Oklahoma City, too, especially about flash flooding and some roads being
under water, some parking being underwater. Do you expect that will affect
any evacuation plans or the ability of rescue crews and emergency
responders to get where they need to get to?
LAMB: It certainly will. I heard a guest you had a moment ago, I
think she was at Will Rogers World Airport, our major airport in Oklahoma
City. That`s where the storm headed. There were touch downs of tornadoes
around the area, not actually at the airport.
But one of the major junctions, the Amarillo Junction, I believe it is
called, is under water right now, parts of it at least. And if you want to
evacuate, you want to go for help, you need first responders, you know, an
ambulance, and one by my house, I`m going to go, I think they were turned
around in the wrong neighborhood, but certainly if we have that high water,
that will impact everything.
MADDOW: We are hearing advice from the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, for
example, that motorists who are on or around Interstate 40 should leave the
highway and should take shelter. What kind of shelter should people be
looking for if they are caught out on the road and they are told, they are
listening to the media and they`re advised to take shelter – what kind of
LAMB: That`s a very tough question to answer, of course. You always
want to get the road in a storm, especially there is potential for tornadic
activity. What is heightened more with this storm that`s going through
Oklahoma right now, it was following Interstate 40 for some time. I
believe it veered off to the south side.
I`m looking at a lot of reports right now, I think that`s gone south
of Interstate 40. But, of course, you want to get off the interstate, get
out of your vehicle. Find a structure of some sort, hopefully, a concrete
structure above ground, if you know after public storm shelter nearby,
evacuate to that location as quick as possible.
It`s tough to do, Rachel, sometimes. But it`s important to have that
plan ahead of time. If you are a traveler and you are unfamiliar with the
weather activity and you`re unfamiliar with your area, just get off that
road as quickly as possible and seek some sort of shelter that look safe
MADDOW: It is clear for a long time today that is looked like severe
weather. These tornado warnings and watches in effect in advance of these
storms rolling through directly. Do you feel that people in and around
Oklahoma City were prepared for this, knew it was coming? Did people leave
work and get to places where they could be safe in advance of this storm
LAMB: You know what, I think it gives me the opportunity to brag on
the meteorologists we have in Oklahoma once again. They were talking about
possible tornadic activity yesterday and the day before. We had some
outbreaks of tornadoes in the last two to three days in Oklahoma. We had a
lot of (INAUDIBLE), as far as potential for tornadic activity.
As I talk to you, Rachel, the tornado sirens have gone off once, maybe
twice. I think that`s the eighth or ninth time in northwest part of
Oklahoma City where I am right now that we had tornado sirens go off. It
is a warning system, where it is the warning themselves or meteorologists
warning us of the potential for tornadic activity. I think the warning
signs have been out there and I want to thank the meteorologists for a
fantastic job, once again.
MADDOW: Lieutenant governor for the great state of Oklahoma, the
nation`s thoughts and prayers are with you again tonight as you hunker down
there, sir. Thank you very much for being with us. Really appreciate it.
LAMB: Thank you, Rachel. You`re welcome. Thank you.
MADDOW: Good luck.
All right. We are going back to NBC`s affiliate in Oklahoma City,
KFOR, who is the last couple moments started talking about another tornado
on the ground. Let`s go to them.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: – Norman.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) just super dark. I can`t see
obviously, but it is so dark in there, and just north, that`s not the rain
any more. Part of it is rain, however, as soon as the last power hit, it
would be like Indian Hills at 240 is gone as far as power, and just
completely blacked out.
We can see a definite lowering of the cloud right there. It appears
it is just a few miles, two or three miles from the coastal training
center, which is on highway nine. But we are seeing tons of per flashes in
the same area. It`s almost like this tornado on the ground, it kind of
stalled out and just sitting there ripping and grinding that whole area.
So if you are still in this area, definitely stay, stay in your
shelter. Stay in your shelter, stay out of the ground, my wife asked a
minute ago if we could get out. No, no, stay put. Stay put.
So, if you are listening on the radio, watch us on TV, stay there,
stay under ground, stay in your storm shelter.
This storm is not through. We are still seeing flashes and the
roadways are completely congested. So, hunker down. Don`t try and get out
because if this thing continues to cross and goes and on the road there,
Mike, it`s going to be catastrophic for several people.
We have four lanes, all looking southbound. So, stay in your area
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, appreciate that. Report there from Norman
with tornado still going through Norman. There is another significant
circulation over by Twin Lakes. Fire Lake Grand Casino over on 40, near
the county line, Pottawatomie County line, far southeastern Oklahoma
County, far northeastern Cleveland County. That`s the lead storm that
produced the storm in south Oklahoma City.
And there is still significant circulation there as well. So, you
folks in Shawnee, stay alert. There is a tornado warning in effect for the
Pottawatomie County, for that storm. That`s Twin Lakes, Dale, Shawnee,
Tecumseh, the Stella area, east of Draper Lake, Twin Lakes, Dale, Shawnee,
Tecumseh, you folks stay alert there as there is a tornado warning for
Pottawatomie County and that is the lead circulation that produced the
tornado in south Oklahoma City. And it continues to track towards Shawnee
So, Pottawatomie County, you folks still continue with a tornado
Let`s go to Mark Dillard with an update – Mark.
MARK DILLARD (via telephone): Yes, Mike. Still watching for power
flash, due west now on 36, heading south trying to get Highway 9 before we
can at least get access to look at this thing without having to bail on it
so fast. Winds are just crazy, Michael.
Give me one second while I get to the intersection here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right. Let`s go to Adam Mertz (ph) about the
bad flooding problem we have going on. Adam?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, Mike. We are on Council Road. Almost where
you get into the outlet mall is here and flooding is right up this portion
of Council is, at some point, at least a foot. But at other points three
to four. Depending on where you are. (INAUDIBLE) anywhere between about
one to three feet.
Couple cars stuck and they simply cannot get through this area. There
are several businesses around here, and they`re also closed. And flooding
is a problem at I-40 and Council Road. So certainly avoid this area
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Appreciate that, Adam. Flash flood warnings in
effect for Oklahoma and Canadian County, as well as Cleveland County.
Serious flooding situation. Rain continues to come down along with large
hail. Biggest hail is in the south metro right now.
Let`s go back to John Welsh and Bob Moore, chopper 4, John still right
over Norman really. I mean, directly over like O.U. campus, heading
through south now.
What are you seeing through there?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, that`s pretty much what we`re seeing. We are
seeing a lot of heavy lightning right now which pretty much allows us to –
we haven`t seen funnels or anything drop out. Lightning flash in the
background but it helps us illuminate the back of the storm.
It is set over Norman and it has taken pretty much a straight south
track. I will have to move all the way down south to the (INAUDIBLE)
airport. I`m actually just south of the casino, shooting back up to the
north. And this thing continues to push us down south.
But we got a lot of rain up there. We haven`t seen any flashes the
last few minutes. We`re over I-35 and about the river casino back north.
It locks like a monsoon, a tornado. And a hurricane wrapped up in one. It
is a very terrible sight. So, definitely, this area is nothing to play
with here with, Mike.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right. John, appreciate it.
We are showing highest velocity wind sheer. It appears on the east
side of Norman. But it`s also showing some really high velocity winds out
of the north. Through Norman right now. So it is either a tornado or
damaging straight line wind.
We are showing winds in 80 mile per hour range. Yes, those are the
velocity out of the north. So, this is damaging straight line winds on the
back side of the hook, which is over the east central to central parts of
But this is high velocity north wind here. Some of that maybe the
power flashes we are seeing. But the tornado warning very much continues
for McLane and for Cleveland County, also for Pottawatomie County.
Let`s go to the south Doppler and take a look at Norman again. Closer
look. You can clearly see the hook. You can clearly see the hook right
through here. This is inflow through here.
So, right over the O.U. campus is where that is focused. So, you want
to be away from windows – completely away from any windows all around the
O.U. campus. It is heading southbound through Norman right now.
Let`s go back to John Welsh, and take a look. John, what do you have?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, Mike, right now, we kind of break away. This
cloud, we had a huge cloud come over and it`s crossing down of the Purcell.
I`m just north of Purcell, it`s shooting back towards the north and O.U.
campus and the whole area is black, extremely violent here. Heavy winds.
Moderate turbulence here.
The whole town of Norman is black. We can barely see Highway 9 on the
south side of town, tons and tons of lightning. We have power flashes in
the last few minutes. However, it appears that there is still a lot of
heavy rain and what you are showing on radar, there still could be a
tornado in there, through the rain and everything else.
So, some of those power flashes are kind of masked by just the sheer
darkness of the storm. And at night, we`re not getting ambient light on
the back side of it. So, it`s definitely a scary situation there over
Moore. We`re going to call the heavy stuff just a mile north of Highway 9,
MADDOW: We`re going to be dipping in and out of the KFOR coverage
direct from Oklahoma City. Obviously, they are earning their keep times
ten, both the meteorologists, those helicopter pilots, and correspondents
and anchors keeping an eye on what is happening in the Oklahoma City
I want to go now to Oklahoma City, to NBC News correspondent Jay Gray,
who is in downtown Oklahoma City.
Jay, what are you seeing now? And how serious are the weather
conditions at this moment?
JAY GRAY, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): Hey, Rachel. We`ve
seen a bit of a lull, but I hate to say, it is picking up again, but it is
picking up again and dramatically. The wind started to pick up as well.
Just from our limited vantage point, which is across the street from a
public shelter here where there are hundreds if not a thousand people
I have seen small trees uprooted. Some awnings ripped away from
buildings. Outdoor furniture scattered. Things you would expect with
We`re hearing of a lot more severe damage. Lightning has intensified
here, thunder obviously and then the winds beginning to pull again. You
can see the circulation when those flashes of lightning go off. So, it`s
unclear at this point and I`m just trying to get a good look, of anything
on the ground. It would see seem that that`s more outside the city at this
Unfortunately, as we`ve heard the local affiliate talking about it, it
looks like Moore is in the crosshairs of that.
MADDOW: Jay, let me ask you, from your vantage point in Oklahoma
City, when was it clear that people needed to start following emergency
protocols. You`re describing that public shelter that you`re near. When
did people start taking shelter?
GRAY: The good news is a lot of businesses let their employees leave
early in the afternoon. And I mean 2:00 or 3:00 in the afternoon, telling
them to go home, make sure their families are safe and get into their safe
So, a lot of people left the downtown area at that point, because
conditions were really gathering and taking shape to be very severe.
Unfortunately, there were two sporting events. Minor league baseball game
and minor league play off hockey game, that were not cancelled. So people
coming down, going to the restaurants down here. Those are the people that
had to pile in.
They did get early warning. Sirens have been pounding continuously
here in the downtown area. The hotel that we were staying in just across
the street from the Arena and the convention center, there are two public
shelters, sounded alarm and ushered everybody into shelters very early in
this process. So, there was a lot of warning.
This area is familiar with tornadoes and understands how severe they
can be. Not familiar with two major tornadoes striking areas that where so
many people are. A lot of times, the operation will rip off farmers fields
and areas like that in the plains, but these two appears to have taken aim
at very heavily populated area, Rachel.
MADDOW: NBC News correspondent Jay Gray – Jay, please stay safe, I
don`t need to tell you this, but keep your own shelter responsibilities in
mind, too. But stay in touch with us as can you. Thanks.
MADDOW: Thank you.
I want to go now to MSNBC meteorologist Dylan Dreyer.
Dylan, we`ve heard that there are reports or further tornado activity
in St. Louis. What do we have?
DREYER: Yes. We have been knowing for a while now there was a large
area of the Midwest under the gun with the storms but we do have a tornado
warning in the St. Louis area. We also have reports of a warning that has
just expired, actually, near St. Louis airport.
But this one is a faster storm. It`s moving east at about 50 miles an
hour, as opposed to the ones in Oklahoma, moving at about 25 miles per
hour. The radar has indicated a developing tornado. You can see just
north of St. Louis, that red box that pops up. That tornado warning is in
effect until 8:45 Central Time. So, about another 15 minutes now.
And there has been reports of damage in a town called St. Ann. It
does look like spotters have seen the funnel cloud and there is rotation in
the radar. So, that is the latest area in Missouri now. that is under the
gun with this tornado warning.
They have been popping up all across the Midwest.
MADDOW: Dylan, let me ask you about an earlier report that we had
from the Oklahoma City area storms which I just did not understand, which
is the idea that the tornado, at least one of the tornadoes that touched
down had two funnels.
How does that happen and what does that mean?
DREYER: It is called a multi-vortex tornado. Imagine the tornado has
it comes down from the cloud. Typical set up where the see the funnel
cloud, the cloud and a fun will and it comes down and touches the ground
and there`s your tornado.
Well, when you have a massive tornado, one that is reported was one
mile in diameter, not only do you have one rotation, but you have these
littler rotations within these large tornadoes. It is called a multi-
vortex tornado because it has multiple vortexes or multiple funnels within
the system. So, these are the ones that have been plaguing the whole area.
One hits here, one hits here, all part of this bigger system.
MADDOW: OK. MSNBC meteorologist, Dylan Dreyer, thank you for helping
us understand this. We will be back with you.
Right now, I want to bring to conversation, the mayor of Oklahoma
City, Mick Cornett.
Mr. Mayor, thank you for taking the time to talk with us tonight.
What should people know about the conditions in your city?
MAYOR MICK CORNETT, OKLAHOMA CITY (via telephone): Well, inside the
city, it appears so far we have been largely spared. We have had high
wind, some hail. Our city limits are expansive. So far we`ve not been
able to verify that any tornado touched down inside the city.
I know it touched down prior to reaching the city and it appears after
it left Oklahoma City limits, it steps down again. But Oklahoma City, at
this point has been spared.
But again, the night is not over and the damage still hasn`t been all
MADDOW: In terms of how safe Oklahoma City should feel, are you
seeing advised and are you indeed advising your residents that worst may be
over, or at this point, there is no reason to think this is an all-clear
because the storm is present?
CORNETT: I think we don`t want to be naive. It appears, but to
answer your question, it does feel like the worst is over. But we know
better to take that for granted.
So, people are turning to the media. There are some significant power
outages so a lot of people are on their cell phones taking in the media.
But over all, the sun is – it`s still too cloudy to see it but skies are
still light to the west. And that`s a good sign. It was much darker an
hour ago than it is now.
MADDOW: From the storm experience that you have had and heavy rains
and hail, and straight line winds, and everything else associated with this
storm, obviously we`ve heard reports of some localized flooding. That`s
got to affect the ability of rescue crews and first responders to get
around it and it presumably effect evacuation as well.
Can you tell us anything about the state of the roads in and around
CORNETT: Well, I think there is some local flooding like you said.
There probably pockets for the flooding. But typically doesn`t flood very
long in Oklahoma City. Once it stops raining it recede very quickly. So I
think in flooding would be short term.
MADDOW: Do you feel that the city had adequate shelter? We`ve heard
a lot of reports about businesses closing early and people taking care
early on in the afternoon today?
CORNETT: Yes. I mean, we basically had 48 hours to prepare. They`ve
been telling us this will be a high likelihood of storms. I was surprised
so many people though ended up on the street. I`ve seen people in cars and
interstates kind of got packed, people trying to move. That`s fairly new.
And I wonder if it`s not a repercussion of the Moore tornado a couple weeks
People were so frightened and when have you tens of thousands of
people getting into their cars, that`s the worst place for them to be.
That surprises me and scares me.
People should get in their facility. They should get low. They
should get in the interior part of this you are house. They don`t need to
be in the cars. And that typically doesn`t happen.
MADDOW: Mayor Mick Cornett of Oklahoma City, obviously, still in the
thick of it, looking at this, the size of the storm system, but I`m glad to
hear that you feel like you dodged the worst of the bullet here, sir.
Thank you. Please stay in touch with us over the course of the night.
CORNETT: Will do.
MADDOW: Thank you.
We`re going to dip back now to KFOR, which is an NBC affiliate in
Oklahoma City with their coverage.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have Mark Dillard?
DILLARD: Yes, Mike.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Go, Mark.
DILLARD: Yes, I`m on Alameda now heading east trying to stay up with
the circulation that`s going to be off, I believe south and east, from what
my wind are doing, whipping up from north to south. So I`m just passing
50th now. I got a lot of traffic coming, I`m sure highway 9 is jammed up
On Alameda heading east, trying to stay up with a circulation center
there that was cutting across Norman, causing some power flashes and likely
some damage down in the Norman area. So, Mike, I`m going to continue to
track this over to Shawnee, Dale and (INAUDIBLE). Back to you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, appreciate that.
So this circulation on the east side of Norman, let`s go to the storm
tracker. You see a hook here and still a hook here. And still a hook
here. There is Norman. Here is Noble. Still a hook, traveling over here
toward Highway 9 here. There is little ax, and the casino there. Thunder
It is in that exact area right now traveling to the southeast, on down
into southern Pottawatomie County. So, Cleveland County, Pottawatomie
County, tornado warming with this one, and then let`s go to the storm
scanner and here to the east, this circulation coming into Shawnee, tornado
warning with that one as well.
This is mainly a lot of hail and the rain here. Still getting reports
of golf balls and larger size hail in the south metro right here. North
metro is pretty good shape right now. Logan County is in good shape. King
Fisher County is in good shape. There is no activity in north central
All of the action is right here. These two storms here, this one,
east Norman, and this one coming into Shawnee, both very significant there.
It may produce additional tornado as they move southeast. This one here,
mainly severe thunderstorms – large hail, damaging winds, and flooding
rainfall back to the west.
I think we can talk to John Welsh. What John is doing?
Tell you what, let`s go back to – can we go back to Megan with any
updates you might have?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All right. Thank you very much. And again,
major problem today, this evening. The flash flooding has caused big
problems for everybody.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It really has.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: People can`t get anywhere. Emergency crews are
having trouble getting to victims they need to tend to. And obviously
power outages all over. We have reports of 40,000 plus. We`re following
that very closely. Crews having a tough time getting out to deal with that
And we just went to the cue with Natasha and we saw people breaking
down a door to take cover, which you can understand after what happened
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely.
Let`s go to Lance West on the phone with us right now. There is the
shot with the rain coming down.
Lance, I notice one of the your tweets earlier, you said one of the
major highways, maybe I-40, looks like a demolition derby out there at one
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It sure does. There are cars everywhere.
And I have an unfortunate bit of information to pass along. There has
been a confirmed double fatality. A white Pontiac Montana SUV was upside
down. We know that a mother and her baby were both killed in this
accident. Highway patrol has just removed the victims.
Traffic here is at a standstill in the eastbound lanes of I-40, just
west of Banner Road and it is absolute chaos out here. Cars are again at a
stand still. There are semis turned over at a truck stop on the truck
checkpoint where semis come through the weigh station. Decimated.
There are farms out here that have been destroyed. There is debris
all over the interstate. Trees have been split in half.
There`s a building, I`m not sure what it is. It looks like they sell
industrial equipment. It says performance something but half of the
building has been torn away. I can`t make out the entire sign.
But a lot of destruction and again, I tell with you a heavy heart, we
had a double fatality, a mother and her baby killed in this accident as the
car was flipped up about an hour ago.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, man, I just hate hearing that.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you, Lance.
I`m afraid we`re going to hear more – I hope no more fatalities, but
I think we will have so many people with injuries from people in vehicles.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So many people on that highway, such a busy
highway out there, of course, I-40, I-35 as well. A lot of cars were
affected by that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Take a lock at this picture. This is Mike Bettes.
Not Mike Bennett but Mike Bettes` car.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: From the Weather Channel, yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, from the Weather Channel, yes. This is, what
does it say, tornado hunt 2013.
Mike Bettes is OK. Emily was actually physically talking to him about
an hour and a half ago. This is out where Lance West is located right now.
Of course you saw all of the video and you know, we`re showing you that
monster tornado out there.
This is that whole area out by I-40 in the immediate El Reno/Banner
Road area, El Reno airport all in through there. The problem is that it
made a violent turn, you like saw it if you`re watching. It made a violent
and rapid turn. And it caught all these folks that do this stuff, you
know, it caught them off guard and frankly, ran over them.
And this is Mike Bettes` – not Mike Bennett, but Mike Bettes` Weather
Channel tornado hunt 2013 truck is smashed. So, this is out very close to
where that unfortunate double fatality occurred.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You said, Mike, that it looked like that tornado -
MADDOW: Coverage from KFOR, from Oklahoma City affiliate of NBC,
obviously doing excellent local coverage of this.
Repeating the news they just broke there. This is according to KFOR
in Oklahoma City. They are describing a double fatality in a vehicle on
Interstate 40. Interstate 40 has been shut down.
Reporters are describing a scene that looks like a demolition derby
was the phrase they used on Interstate 40. Numerous vehicles overturned.
A lot of debris on the road and now sadly they are describing double
fatality. A mother and infant killed in a vehicle on closed Interstate 40.
That stretch of roadway itself seems to have been a path for at left some
of the tornadoes and a place where a lot of people got caught out in
I want to bring in MSNBC meteorologist, Dylan Dreyer.
Dylan, what is latest on the tornado`s trajectory and the overall
direction of this storm?
DREYER: Well, general direction of this whole storm, I mean, the one
that stretches from Illinois right back into Oklahoma, it`s this slow-
moving cold front that`s moving very slowly to the east. This was the area
of concern today where we knew we would see very strong thunderstorms in an
isolated area back to Oklahoma, where we would see those very strong
tornadoes, which obviously has all played out.
And a closer look shows you that the tornado watch boxes extend up
into parts of Illinois. We had reports of tornadoes in Wisconsin, through
Illinois. We have some in the St. Louis area and, of course, back into
Oklahoma City where the threat was heightened. It was a potentially
dangerous situation type of tornado watch that was issued hours ago.
So that`s why there was so much notice in advance these storms, not
only would they be tornadoes but we would see very strong, powerful moving
tornadoes. This is all out in advance of this cold front. It`s that very
warm, moist air off the Gulf of Mexico and cool dry air behind it. And
that clash that unfortunately is going nowhere fast.
And tomorrow, that threat moves into the Midwest and unfortunately
this set up does not exit until Sunday night and into Monday morning.
MADDOW: Forgive my ignorance on this, but is it unusual to have a
storm system that this big that is causing tornadoes in this wide of an
area? It just seems to me to be a massive, massive system. Am I just not
paying attention and it`s been like this all the time? Or is this an
unusually big storm?
DREYER: It`s an unusually big. And it`s hitting very populated
areas. I think that`s the biggest issue here. You know, a lot of times,
we have this tornadoes. It`s tornado alley, after all. So, this is a
typical setup, with their fast-moving cold front. They hit mostly rural
But now, we are talking about Oklahoma City, St. Louis, areas across
Illinois, very populated areas with this set up. It is an unusually slow-
moving system wreaking havoc in the Midwest and back to the Plains.
MADDOW: MSNBC meteorologist Dylan Dreyer, Dylan, thank you very much.
We`re going to go back to NBC`s affiliate in Oklahoma City, KFOR.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s gone down. It`s only the wheels – it is
only about half way up the wheels. But when we were originally there, it
was higher and up to the doors. We are just trying to get off the road.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, Adam, you guys be careful out there and we`ll
check back with you in that situation out there.
Let`s go to Betsy Randolph of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.
Betsy, bring us up to the date on the situation. We know it`s not
BETSY RANDOLPH, OKLAHOMA HIGHWAY PATROL (via telephone): No, it`s not
good. Unfortunately, I can confirm that there have been two fatalities, a
mother and a baby, somewhere on I-40, somewhere near the El Reno
It`s a heartbreaking deal. We try to tell people not to drive into
the storm. This may be the deal where there was little or no notice, no
warning. And it is just gut-wrenching and heartbreaking.
We`ve got multiple crashes that we`re working right now all over, just
includes Mustang, El Reno, Yukon, Oklahoma City, Moore and now into Norman.
We are stopping traffic on I-35 coming north. We`re stopping and turning
back south. (INAUDIBLE).
And we are asking everyone, everyone on I-40, anywhere around Oklahoma
City metro area, if you do not have to be on the highway, do not get on I-
40 right now. Do not get on I-35 in the Oklahoma City metro area.
Take shelter. Do not get on the interstate right now.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right. Well, we appreciate that. We will come
back to you in a little bit this evening and get another update. But
again, we need our viewers to heed your word. Thank you very much.
That`s trooper Betsy Randolph.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let`s go back to Mike. Give them four warning
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: we have two dangerous storms here. They are still
quite possibly tornado producers. There is one coming into north Shawnee
right now that is – with a tornado warning in effect. We are not
forgetting but folks.
This area here, Shawnee. It is north Shawnee right now, moving east
southeast. So OBU, Shawnee, and then from there, we will be talking about
over toward Earlsboro.
But you see the time of arrival there, the motion on it is to the east
southeast at about 28 to 30 miles an hour. That`s a strong circulation
there. Still, a tornado warning for Pottawatomie County. You want to stay
in your safe spot where you are.
No doubt about it. That is a tornado warning for Pottawatomie County.
The other one also, has a tornado warning on it, Cleveland County.
This is going to be right in here to the west of Tribbey (ph) and Macomb
and it`s going to be traveling on down toward St. Louis. That`s one that
have tornado damage, power flashes and such down through Moore, on down
through Norman. It is now down on the eastern side of Lake Thunder Bird is
where it is now. Very close to Little Axe, east side of Little Axe.
And it`s going to traveling into central Pottawatomie County and maybe
southern Pottawatomie County.
So we have one on the north side of Shawnee, coming into Shawnee right
now and we have one to the south of Tecumseh, just barely south of
Tecumseh. And that has tornado warning on it as well. These two storms
are still very, very dangerous. Flash flood warnings, tremendous amount of
lightning, still a lot of large mail.
Back in the south east side of Oklahoma City, just east of Norman,
just to the east of Moore as well, and then back west there is severe
thunderstorm activity with mainly large hail and some damaging winds and
flooding rain fall further back west. And that`s over Mustang, and Union
City and Blanchard. Right now, this is mainly a severe storm. It is not a
Let`s go to the watches and warnings right now. We can show you this
to you. So, we have Grady severe, McLane severe, and then Cleveland
tornado, I think we can take Oklahoma County out of the tornado. That is
for the one that came into Shawnee right now. Just moved out of Oklahoma
I think we can safety drop Oklahoma County from the tornado warning.
I think that`s very safe to say that right now, because it moved out of
Oklahoma County. That is down by the GM plant Mark Dillard was talking
about through there, over toward Stella and down toward.
So now we are talking about Pottawatomie County. So, Pottawatomie and
Cleveland, two storms, tornado warnings for both counties, back to the
west. More heavy rain and hail.
We`re going to check with our storm trackers. Kevin and Meg, be right
back with you.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you, Mike.
Now, moments ago we talked to Lance West. He told us about a business
he had seen that was destroyed. We now know more about it. It was is
called Performance Technology, and I believe it is 3715 South Radio Road.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They had eight employees in there. They took
shelter. The storm did come through and damage part of the building, blew
some of it away. They had a little bit a gas leak and a fire. They`re able
to get that out. Everybody OK. So, that`s the good news on that.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That`s right.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let`s go to Courtney Francisco for an update right
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, I`m on eastbound I-40 in El Reno. And I`m
right now passing overturned semi trucks here on the highway. Traffic is
stuck up in the median. All can you see is piles of sheet metal, debris.
And crews are working to get semis turn up right to clear them off of the
And there is a barn further up, by some sort of barn that was
completely destroyed out here. And poles levels to the ground. It looks
like all kinds of debris and flooding in the median as well. Folks have to
be careful as rain water piling up right now.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Boy, it rained like the dickens here at the
station. We were talking about, Courtney, the flooding problem there would
erupt in the metro area. And you are seeing there even in west metro.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That`s right. It is powering up.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s kind of s the aftermath that you don`t
think about when you`re thinking about tornadoes.
All right. Well, thank you, Courtney Francisco reporting live near El
You know, the thing is, Kevin, with both the tornadoes we had Sunday
in Shawnee and then in Moore and what we had happen today, these are
hitting major highways, I-40, I-35. The minute we were –
MADDOW: We`re going to go right now – this is KFOR, this is local
Oklahoma City affiliate, the NBC affiliate there, doing just incredible
But I want to go right now to I-40, to George McKinnis who is a storm
chaser right now, who is, as far as I understand is out on I-40 east of
Oklahoma City, which we keep being told is not a smart place to be right
now. George is there to witness the storm.
George, what can you see and what have you seen?
GEORGE MCKINNIS, STORM CHASER (via telephone): Right now it is
getting dark. It is difficult to see anything. We are on I-40 east of
Shawnee, watching the tornadic storm as it approaches this area. They
still have an active tornado warning on it. But visually, we do not see
Now, earlier when the storms were coming through Oklahoma City, south
side of Oklahoma City, we did catch the area where the tornado was believed
to be, and did video quite a view power flashes, indicating it was possibly
on the ground doing damage. We were near Lake Draper, looking back to our
northwest from that location along I-240, between (INAUDIBLE) and I-35 as
it moves through that area.
MADDOW: George, in terms your location right now on I-40 east, what
can you tell us about the condition on the roadway, how many people are
around in that area?
MCKINNIS: Well, reporter: traffic is quite heavy east and westbound
on I-40 from about Choctaw area east toward Shawnee. A lot of people
trying to leave the Oklahoma City area as the tornadic storms were moving
through. It is starting to thin out, but traffic is heavy east and
MADDOW: The only two confirmed fatalities – I should not say only –
the two confirmed fatalities that we have heard reported from KFOR
confirmed by Oklahoma highway patrol did happen on Interstate 40, a woman
and her infant child killed in a car that got caught up in the storm.
Are you seeing debris or have you seen overturned vehicles out there?
MCKINNIS: Not on the – not through the west side or east side of
Oklahoma City and out east. The area that you were just referring to I
believe was more on the west side of Oklahoma City on I-40 as it got out
towards the El Reno area, which is the suburbs west of Oklahoma City.
MADDOW: George McKinnis, storm chaser in the thick of it tonight,
George, thanks for being with us. Appreciate your time, sir.
MCKINNIS: You`re welcome.
MADDOW: Stay safe.
Joining us now is Jayme Shelton, who is a spokesman for the mayor`s
office in Moore, Oklahoma. Obviously everybody in the country is concerned
about Moore with what happened there last week, seeing it in the path of
the storm again tonight.
Mr. Shelton, what can you tell us about how Moore fared in the latest
round of storms?
JAYME SHELTON, MAYOR`S OFFICE OF MOORE, OKLAHOMA (via telephone): I
am hearing lots of reports of flooding on residential streets and there`s
report of one house fire in the community. I do not have reports of new
damage from any touchdowns of tornadoes in the city limits. That`s all
MADDOW: Jayme, in terms of the continuing recovery efforts from last
week, do you know if in advance of this new round of bad weather that came
through today, if presumably people were cleared out, I imagine it is
harder to find a safe place to be in Moore after what you went through last
SHELTON: That`s correct. Volunteers that were working in areas on
the May 20 tornado were moved out, we watched the weather the entire day.
National Weather Center located in Norman is maybe 15 miles from Moore.
And so, we have the best people in the world giving us information to make
sure we can communicate to our citizens.
MADDOW: In terms of any continuing threat to Moore, are you still
being advised that there may be heavy weather ahead? There may still be
dangerous situation in your city?
SHELTON: I believe the entire central Oklahoma area is still under
severe weather and storm watches and warnings, so we`re just watching
exactly what the National Weather Service is putting out, making sure our
citizens are aware of that and we are prepared to alert them of possible
MADDOW: Jayme Shelton, spokesman for the mayor`s office in Moore,
Oklahoma – thank you for your time and stay safe, as always. Thank you,
SHELTON: Thank you, Rachel.
MADDOW: All right. Let`s go back now to NBC`s affiliate in Oklahoma
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fatality up here on I-40, but down through here
where it made this big dip and strong northward turn, that`s where we had a
lot of folks get run over by the tornado. Emily Sutton was talking about
it. Reed timer was talking about it.
Here are the preliminary tracks for Oklahoma City, one developed near
the Xerox plant, this is earlier, this is earlier, went through south
Oklahoma City, then we had the second tornado form South Dale (ph) City,
very close to Crossroads Mall, travel down 240. These were the two
tornadoes in Oklahoma City proper.
Then we had some wind damage, weak tornado damage of some kind through
Moore and Norman. We have to kind of see as data comes in, how that`s
going to go.
Let`s go back to storm tracker, talk to Mike Bennett.
Mike Bennett (ph), we know you`re OK, Mike Bettes with the Weather
Channel was hit by the tornado, but you`re fine.
MIKE BENNETT (via telephone): Yes, Mike, my phone has been ringing
off the wall. We`re good, we`re good.
We are on 177 just south of Shawnee on southern edge of Shawnee,
looking north. I tell you what, Mike, we don`t have any daylight any more,
so all we can rely on is power flashes. I`m not seeing any.
I had a lowering to the northwest, just about three or four minutes
ago, it is gone, rain started to wrap in. About the time I saw that, had a
blast of wind out of the west, I thought OK, here we go, getting ready to
get down, now rain is on us and losing visibility.
But no power flashes. That means not anything on the ground. Right
now, I don`t see power flashes would be the only indicator. Was that a
power flash or lightning?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And Mike Bennett talking about circulation on the
northern side of Shawnee right now.
Mike, would you verifier center of rotation is the northern side of
Shawnee, near I-40?
BENNETT: It`s hard for us to figure out, Mike. One thing we had a
hard time getting bearings on the storm since we been here because of that.
It`s, I don`t know, Mike. It is hard for us to identify any area of this
rotation, we lose the visibility.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, that`s Mike Bennett, who is fine. Mike
Bennett is just fine. Mike Bettes with the Weather Channel, his car was
crushed by that tornado out near El Reno earlier, but he`s OK at least,
he`s reasonably OK. He was standing up, talking to Emily a few hours ago.
MADDOW: Let`s go now to Greg Carbin who is at the NOAA Storm
Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma, which itself is right in the thick
Mr. Carbin, thank you very much for joining us tonight. We appreciate
your time and your expertise, sir.
GREG CARBIN, NOAA (via telephone): Yes, good evening, Rachel.
MADDOW: First of all, can you tell us about conditions directly where
you are in Norman and how Norman fared in this storm tonight?
CARBIN: We lost power in parts of Norman. It seems some high winds
or perhaps lightning may have taken out the power awhile ago. We are still
experiencing pretty gusty winds and occasionally torrential rain. It
appears the tornado threat diminished quite a bit.
The storm complex that brought tornadoes to Oklahoma City has gusted
out and cold air associated with massive amounts of rain is cutting off the
inflow to the storm, and likely producing an environment that`s less
favorable for tornadoes.
MADDOW: OK. So, cutting off inflow, less favorable environment over
the course of the night, when will that become more clear? Over how much
time do you need to see that as a continuing trend before you decide that`s
CARBIN: Well, about an hour ago I was asked that question, I said we
probably have about another hour of relatively high potential for tornadic
storms, then it would begin to diminish in the nighttime hours. It looks
like that`s occurring.
There`s always that remote possibility you can still get a brief
spinoff. We`ve got strong winds still coming out of the complex of storms
to produce almost as much damage as a tornado. So, it is not over yet.
There`s significant heavy rainfall problem as well, tremendous moisture in
the atmosphere. Storms continue overnight to produce heavy rain.
MADDOW: Greg, one of the things we have been able to see is the
large, large scale of this overall storm system reaching many states north
of Oklahoma, across the country. Do you expect these strong storms we have
seen, these kinds of tornadoes are going to be a characteristic of this
storm system across the country, both overnight and into tomorrow?
CARBIN: Well, we`re going to see this whole system start to move. I
mean, it has been relatively stationary the past two, three days. Frontal
boundary that`s really triggering that activity from upper Mississippi
Valley across the Southern Plains tonight is actually going to start to
move. We`re going to see thunderstorms progress eastward each day, may see
a threat even into New England and the Northeast come Sunday.
Eventually that front will reach the East Coast and we will be done
with it, looks like better weather is ahead, especially for the weekend,
into early next week for Southern Plains and central U.S.
MADDOW: In terms of overall dangerous, how dangerous that overall
situation is tonight, describing this system, essentially becoming less
dangerous in the Oklahoma City area, is there any place else tonight you
expect it might eventually become dangerous?
CARBIN: Well, one of the problems is we may transition or already
have transitioned into what could be a dangerous flooding situation,
especially in urban areas around Oklahoma City, so they were hit with the
tornadoes earlier and they`ve had up to six inches, seven inches of
rainfall. Whenever you do that in an urban area, you got problems because
traffic can get stranded, you can have flooding.
So, we may see transition here from what was a wind or tornado threat
to more of flooding threat overnight. The wind threat will continue east
across Tulsa, in parts of Missouri, northwest Arkansas throughout the night
tonight. We`re not out of the woods yet.
MADDOW: Greg Carbin from National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration in Norman, Oklahoma, tonight – thank you, sir, for joining
us tonight. I am glad you have the job you have. Please stay safe. Thank
CARBIN: Thank you.
MADDOW: In terms of what happened tonight in Oklahoma City, in terms
of the damage reports, it is unclear at this point the extent of the
damage. We do have two confirmed fatalities in the Oklahoma City area.
Oklahoma Highway Patrol confirming two fatalities on Interstate 40.
Eyewitness reports of a lot of cars overturned and a lot of debris on the
Oklahoma authorities advising people to get off the road if you are on
the road, in part because of danger from the storms, but in part of it
because of the difficulty of moving around with the flooding there caused
by these storms.
This massive storm system brought system extremely severe storms from
Oklahoma City to St. Louis.
We are still in the middle of MSNBC`s coverage of this storm. Stay
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