Oklahoma weather forecasters review reports from weekend tornadoes

Forecasters will spend the next few days reviewing data and sightings of tornadoes in the state throughout the weekend.
by Tiffany Gibson Published: April 15, 2012

A weekend of tornadoes in Oklahoma will keep weather forecasters busy for the next few days as they compile data and sightings.

Rick Smith, warning coordination meteorologist for the National Weather Service Forecast Office in Norman, spent Sunday collecting damage reports from a powerful tornado in Woodward that claimed five lives and destroyed 89 homes.

Smith said about eight tornadoes were spotted earlier Saturday in northwest Oklahoma from Ellis County to Alfalfa County.

Kevin Brown, senior forecaster, said the number of tornadoes is subject to change after reviewing reports and storm spotter information.

“We are still getting in reports of brief touchdowns in northwest Oklahoma,” he said. “We will continue to get damage reports from law enforcement.”

In Waynoka, Brown said a tornado damaged a few barns and oil tank batteries before making its way into Kansas.

Forecasters said there also was a possible tornado spotted in eastern Oklahoma.

On Friday, a rain-wrapped tornado touched down in Norman at Interstate 35 and W Lindsey Street and damaged power lines, trees and homes.

After reviewing damage in the area, Brown said forecasters have calculated that the Norman tornado was an EF1 with winds slightly over 100 mph. He said it's likely the storm in Woodward was much stronger.

“Outside of that one storm that formed after midnight that hit Woodward, we had some minimal damage,” Brown said. “We were expecting more storms. The conditions were favorable for more storms to form. We're actually thankful we were wrong.”

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by Tiffany Gibson
News Online Editor
Tiffany Gibson has worked for the Oklahoman since August 2011 and is a member of the digital news team. In addition to writing and web editing, she also creates multimedia features for the website and maintains social media accounts. A Tennessee...
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