NORMAN — A destructive tornado in the spring and devastating wildfires in the summer were among top news events in Norman in 2012. Here's a look back:
A late-afternoon tornado on April 13 cut an eight-mile path through Norman, snapping power poles, uprooting trees, damaging buildings and causing minor injuries.
Cleveland County was in a tornado watch minutes before the twister suddenly touched down at Interstate 35 and W Lindsey Street. It hopscotched through the center of the city, ripping the roofs off buildings and raking Andrews Park near the municipal complex before fading out on the northeast side near Robinson Street and 12th Avenue NE.
Thousands lost electricity, and at least 18 people were taken to Norman Regional Hospital with minor injuries.
At least four of the six wildfires in early August that ravaged Cleveland County, including rural southeast Norman, were determined to be arson.
No arrests have been made in the fires, which destroyed 141 homes countywide and killed one woman. Linda Zoldoske, 67, could not escape her rural Norman home as it was consumed by fire.
The fires were among many statewide that erupted the first week in August as temperatures soared to 110-plus degrees and high winds fanned the flames. The fires destroyed more than 603 homes statewide.
On a positive note, a new philharmonic orchestra debuted in Norman on Jan. 15. The 38-member Norman Philharmonic performed before a standing-room-only crowd at the Nancy O'Brien Performing Arts Center. The performance also was the debut of a commissioned anthem and three-part symphony written especially for Norman by composer Libby Larsen.
City officials marked the grand opening of a compressed natural gas fueling station May 4 at 2351 Goddard Ave. The fueling station was the first city-owned compressed natural gas station in the state to open to the public.