Violent storms kill 9 in Okla., Kan., Ark.

EL RENO, Okla.

Emergency officials say at least two people are dead after storms ripped through Arkansas overnight.

That brings to nine the number of people killed in storms in three states Tuesday night and early Wednesday.

Arkansas Department of Emergency Management spokesman Tommy Jackson says at least one person died after a tornado ripped through the tiny community of Denning in Franklin County. Another person died after storms hit neighboring Franklin County.

The storms came just two days after a massive tornado tore through the southwest Missouri town of Joplin and killed 122 people.

Several twisters struck Oklahoma City and its suburbs during rush hour Tuesday afternoon, killing at least five people and causing massive destruction.

The killer tornado covered a distance of about 80 miles. Oklahoma's governor warned residents Tuesday night to take precautions to keep themselves out of harm's way.

A local weathercaster drove through Piedmont, Okla., right through a violent tornado, giving a firsthand look at how the twister snapped power lines and cut a path of destruction.

The El Reno area was especially hard hit. Homes were obliterated and other buildings were blown apart. After seeing storm reports on television, one homeowner rushed to his property and found it in shambles.

Fatalities were reported along a busy interstate, where vehicles were blown off the road.

One tornado spiraled on the ground, then slammed into a semi-truck, ripping it apart on Interstate 40. Miraculously, the driver survived and suffered only minor injuries.

Authorities fear the death toll will climb with so many people still unaccounted for. Rescue teams have fanned out across the state searching through the debris, looking for survivors, but unfortunately they're recovering victims.

Property owners have barely begun picking up pieces. At this point, they're just trying to see if anything is salvageable.

"Now it's all gone. There's nothing, and you can't find it, or it's pounded into the ground. It's really destructive," said one resident.

ABC News crews were with Discovery Channel's "Storm Chasers" in /*Oklahoma*/ while the hailstones pounded down and funnel clouds formed.

With more watches and warnings, the storm chasers will be in hot pursuit during this mean season.

A severe windstorm that tore through /*Kansas*/ also claimed two lives Tuesday night.

A tornado also hit North Texas but there were no immediate reports of damage and injuries. Travelers and staff at the two major airports there were moved to safety as the storms went through.

If you would like to donate to the relief efforts to help the victims of the massive tornadoes, including the ones that struck Joplin, Missouri, click here.

The Associated Press contributed to this story

Copyright © 2023 KABC Television, LLC. All rights reserved.