By Sunday afternoon, the National Weather Service had rated the tornado that hit El Reno Saturday night as an EF-3. That means the storm had winds from 140 to 145 miles per hour.
The storm killed two people.
Tuesday morning, police identified those killed as Bridget Solis, 47, and Timothy Solis, 54. They died at the Skyview Mobile Home Park. The twister then demolished the nearby American Budget Value Inn on U.S. 81, just south of SH 66.
Also damaged were Diffee, Rick Jones and Frontier car dealerships as well as another motel on the east side of U.S. 81.
Some 29 people were injured in the tornado that struck about 10:30. The National Weather Service said the storm was 75 yards wide and stayed on the ground for approximately four minutes, covering a little more than two miles.
Storm sirens were sounded at 10:27. Television meteorologists said the storm developed quickly, part of a fast-moving squall line. Rotation began showing up on radar near the El Reno Air Park southwest of town, reports said.
Of the 29 injured, El Reno Mayor Matt White said some were undergoing surgery Sunday morning. He said some injuries were not serious, but others were listed as critical. Sixteen people were taken to area hospitals by ambulance, while another 13 were driven in private vehicles.
“We have people in surgery at this moment,” White said at a 9 a.m. news conference on Sunday. It was the second briefing of the day, the first held at 2 a.m. in the Public Safety Center on SW 27th Street.
White, flanked by Police Chief Ken Brown, Fire Chief Kent Lagaly, Sheriff Chris West, City Manager Jeremy Frazier and others praised the work of first responders as well as city employees.
“Some of these people risked their own lives on the second floor of the motel,” White said, becoming emotional. He said devastating floods that hit the area days before had exhausted not only first responders, but city workers in general. White praised the efforts of all involved in efforts to help fellow citizens.
The heavy rains last week required close to 50 rescues for people who had their homes overrun by the floodwaters.
“El Reno is a resilient community,” White said. “We’re more than a community, we’re family.”
White said Gov. Kevin Stitt phoned to tell him he was praying for El Reno and that he would visit here most likely on Monday.
First responders from as far as Elk City and Hydro arrived in El Reno to offer support, White said.
A Go Fund Me page was set up by the City of El Reno.
Close to $50,000 had been raised by Tuesday morning.