COLE, Okla. (KFOR) – Governor Kevin Stitt visited areas affected by the April 19th tornadoes on Thursday.
On Wednesday, April 19th, numerous tornadoes tore through Oklahoma, causing damage to areas like McClain and Pottawatomie Counties.
According to the McClain County Sheriff’s Office, the storm also claimed at least three lives.
“Our hearts obviously break for those people who lost a loved one, its just unimaginable,” Stitt said.
On Thursday, Gov. Stitt visited Shawnee to assess the damage and offer resources.
“We’re in Shawnee right now touring the damage and I’m actually at OBU University, almost every building was damaged. I just met with the President, Heath Thomas, we’re getting resources here,” Gov. Stitt said on Twitter.
The Governor also visited Cole, Oklahoma, on Thursday to review the destruction caused by the storms.
“I was in Shawnee earlier and then here in Cole and, man, the damage is unbelievable,” Gov. Stitt said. “The Oklahoma Standard is strong and in force and we’re helping our neighbors right now.”
“That’s what our community does, we come together in times like this so we’ll rebuild and you can see a lot of damage around Oklahoma, but we’ll be able to rebuild.”
Governor Stitt issued a State of Emergency for five counties.
The Gov. Tweeted “Today, after touring the damage in Cole and Shawnee, I declared a State of Emergency in five counties. In times like this, Oklahomans show resilience, community, and courage— the Oklahoma Standard.”
Oklahoma Highway Patrol Situation Update:
OHP Trooper Eric Foster gave an update on the damage situation at Noon.
According to Trooper Foster, authorities continue to respond the the areas affected by the storms and offering resources.
“Obviously it’s devastating. The grid searches that we did conduct are almost completely finished. We’re through those grids once, but we always go back again to make sure that those are taken care of and checking even every storm shelter and things like that.” Foster said.
“The message is look around you, the support that you have around you, the people that have flooded into this area of great support. You do have backing, you do have support not only from friends and neighbors but from law enforcement, from fire, from medical, from, you know, utilities,” Foster added. “There are so many other people that are out here and that should give you hope that there is a way to recover from it.”
Other Oklahoma officials are also speaking on Wednesday night’s storms.
Sen. Jessica Garvin, R-Duncan, represents some of the areas hardest hit by Wednesday night’s tornadoes.
Garvin said she was stunned by the extent of the destruction, but moved by how quickly Oklahomans stepped in to support their neighbors.
“It was extremely dark, but even at night I could see the scope of the devastation was shocking. I’d ask for all Oklahomans to please pray for those impacted throughout the state, especially for the families of those who were killed, those injured in the storm and those who have been displaced,” Garvin said. “But in the midst of the destruction, I witnessed the tireless efforts, not only by our first responders, but citizens within these communities as they immediately sprang into action to help each other. I was struck by how, on the anniversary of the Murrah bombing, we were seeing the Oklahoma Standard in action.”
“In addition to local volunteers and first responders, I want to thank the Oklahoma Highway Patrol for assigning emergency response team members to help with the search and rescue in Cole, and I thank the cities of Oklahoma City and Moore, which have also provided resources,” Garvin continued.
U.S. Senator Markwayne Mullin also weighed in.
“Please join Christie and me in praying for everyone who was impacted by last night’s storms. Last night’s tornadoes have caused extensive damage across our region, with Cole and Shawnee being among the hardest hit. These violent storms have left families devastated, as our communities are left to pick up the pieces,” said Mullin. “Thank you to our first responders who have been working overnight to help us recover from these deadly storms. My office is in touch with emergency managers and local leadership. We stand ready to help in any way we can.”