Meteorologists say preliminary indications show eight tornadoes swept through western Oklahoma on May 16, leaving one person dead and destroying at least 40 homes. (Claritza Jimenez/The Washington Post)

Two people died in Wisconsin and Oklahoma after severe storms ravaged the central United States Tuesday. The National Weather Service logged nearly 300 reports of severe weather from Texas to the Great Lakes.

The Weather Channel’s severe weather expert Greg Forbes estimates 17 tornadoes touched down in five states:

One person died and 25 people were injured after a twister tore through the small town of Chetek in western Wisconsin around 5:45 p.m. local time Tuesday, causing massive wreckage. “[A]t least one entire block of trailers is gone,” reported Minneapolis television affiliate WCCO. “In aerial footage of the damage, it’s difficult to tell where structures once stood.” meteorologist Jonathan Erdman noted the death in Chetek was Wisconsin’s first since Aug. 19, 2011.

A German shepherd dog walks near the remains of a home Wednesday, in a trailer park in Chetek, Wis., that was devastated by a tornado Tuesday. (Richard Tsong-Taatarii/Star Tribune via AP)

Another person died in Elk City, Okla., from a devastating tornado that ripped through the town. The twister demolished 40 homes and heavily damaged 50 to 75 more, according to the Elk City Fire Department. Cars were tossed around like toys.

Sobering aerial footage compiled by ABC News shows the extent of the destruction:

The storms erupted as a disturbance ejected out of the southwest United States into the Southern Plains. They formed in the transition zone between record-challenging warmth in the eastern United States and a deep pool of cold air in the Rocky Mountains.

Incredible high-resolution imagery from the new satellite GOES16 showed storms exploding over the eastern panhandle of Texas, penetrating more than 40,000 feet into the atmosphere and rotating:

The storms not only spawned tornadoes, but generated hail the size of baseballs and softballs:

The two tornado deaths from Tuesday’s storms bring the nation’s 2017 total up to 34 fatalities, more than 2016 in its entirety (18) and almost as many as 2015 (36), according to Patrick Marsh, the warning coordination meteorologist at the National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center.

Another round of strong to severe storms is predicted Wednesday, focused on the Midwest. The Storm Prediction Center has placed much of Iowa in its enhanced risk zone for severe storms. A slight risk for severe storms surrounds Iowa, and includes Milwaukee, Kansas City and Omaha.

Severe weather risk outlook for Wednesday. (National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center)

Below find more images and video of the storms and the damage they caused from social media …

Chetek, Wis.

Elk City, Okla.

SOURCE: Jason Samenow
The Washington Post