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911 callers show range of emotions

Oklahoma City dispatchers dealt with a flurry of 911 calls Monday when tornadoes moved through the metro.

BY MICHAEL KIMBALL Modified: May 12, 2010 at 12:34 am •  Published: May 12, 2010

Oklahoma City emergency dispatchers spoke to at least 42 callers in 17 minutes Monday as tornadoes barreled through the metro, trying to make sense of a flurry of reports from callers with varying degrees of calm and togetherness.

The first tornado-related call came in at 5:37 p.m. from a man in a sport utility vehicle reporting downed power lines near SE 89 and Anderson Road. More calls poured in as a tornado zeroed in on Interstate 40 near Choctaw Road.

"It just went across Hiwassee Road heading northeast toward Choctaw,” a male caller said. "My truck just got blown off the road. Winds are kicking, trees are down. We got power lines down. No injuries that I could tell.”

Some callers phoned in on behalf of family members, such as a Yukon woman whose mother called her in terror.

"Her husband is handicapped,” the woman said. "They’ve had tornado damage. She was on the cell phone ... screaming and she said the house was falling down.”

The driver of a tractor-trailer rig called from Interstate 40 after the tornado passed over Choctaw Road. "I’ve got blood all over my shirt and my mouth is bleeding,” the man said. "Something flew through my truck window and hit me in the face. I don’t think I’m dying or anything.”

Calls flooded in from the Love’s Travel Stop that was obliterated. "I think it (the tornado) is coming back,” said one woman between sobs. "It’s so windy. It’s still really windy.”

At least one caller made a proactive attempt for help. "We’re in Newalla,” the woman said. "Do we need to take cover?”

National Weather Service map of preliminary tornado tracks has disabled the comments for this article.


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