Deadly Lone Grove tornado labeled EF-4

The National Weather Service is reporting a tornado on the ground near Lone Grove, west of Ardmore.

A tornado warning remains in effect for Carter, Jefferson and Love counties in southern Oklahoma. News reports indicate the storm cell has a history of producing tornadoes.

By Ron Jackson, James Tyree and Johnny Johnson Modified: February 11, 2009 at 10:16 pm •  Published: February 11, 2009
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LONE GROVE — An EF-4 tornado ripped through this small community killing eight or nine people, injuring about 50 and leaving a wake of destruction behind winds topping 165 mph, authorities said.

Throughout the day, state authorities had confirmed eight dead. This evening, Carter County Sheriff Ken Grace said a ninth death was a man who died today at a Dallas hospital.

Michelann Ooten, spokeswoman for state emergency management, could not confirm the sheriff's report. A state medical examiner spokeswoman also said she could not confirm the report, saying if the man died in Texas, the body would be turned over to authorities there.

Mercy Memorial Health Center in Ardmore treated 46 victims of Tuesday night's tornado in Lone Grove, a town home to about 5,000 people. Ten of those treated were admitted to the hospital with more serious injuries, although none were in critical condition, a hospital spokeswoman said.

The Lone Grove tornado was the largest of four that touched down on Tuesday.

In Oklahoma City near Northwest Expressway and Rockwell Avenue, a tornado touched down about 2:30 p.m., damaging several businesses in the area. The tornado continued for about 30 minutes going through Edmond, where it damaged more than 200 homes. The tornado reached a maximum strength of EF-2.

A tornado in Logan County touched down about 3:30 p.m. just south of Langston. The twister did not cause any damage so its strength was unknown, according to the National Weather Service.

A tornado in Pawnee destroyed a barn and caused roof and tree limb damage, according to the National Weather Service. The small twister was rated as an EF-0.

The outbreak prompted Gov. Brad Henry to issue a state of emergency for 17 Oklahoma counties.

By far the most devastation occurred in Lone Grove, where state and local authorities confirmed nine dead. The tornado touched down at 6:50 p.m. near Petersburg and lifted at 8 p.m. in southeast Murray County.

A spokeswoman for the state medical examiner’s office said no children are among the dead. Victims’ names have not been released.

Lone Grove residents whose homes are in areas affected by the tornado will be allowed to return to their homes on Thursday, Ooten said. Residents can get an access pass from Lone Grove City Hall during normal business hours, 8 a. View/sign the guest book National Weather Service preliminary storm reports


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Audio clips:

Audio: Carter County sheriff Ken Grace on tornado
Audio: Trooper Bryant Harris addressing tornado

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