CARNEY — Ida Clark knew the tree beside her house was gone when she smelled pecans.
The 40-foot-tall pecan tree and the roof of the home she has lived in for 50 years were destroyed by a Sunday evening tornado that tore through this small Lincoln County town.
Twenty houses were destroyed and 12 others damaged by the nearly mile-wide twister.
Six people were transported to Stillwater Medical Center with non-life-threatening injures.
Clark, 85, said she and her son watched as the tornado passed nearby Luther and they decided to take no chances.
“Get in the cellar,” she said she yelled at her son. “What do you do? It's sad, but there ain't nothing you can do about it. Just try and redo.”
Down the street, Janee Keiser, 66, was sifting through what remained of her home.
She said she and her 84-year-old mother took shelter, but their cellar door was ripped off as the tornado passed overhead.
“Talk about luck, I should have played the lottery yesterday,” Keiser said. “It's heartbreaking, but we are all OK, and that's really what's important.”
Survivors gathered at the Carney Fire Station. Oklahoma Highway Patrol troopers, local police and firemen, and several National Guardsmen combed through wreckage to see if anyone was trapped.
Trooper Betsy Randolph said most side roads of U.S. 177 were closed to discourage the curious. “We really just want people to stay inside and stay safe,” she said. “If they end up trying to go and look at the damage, then they might end up getting stuck or hurt.”
Jodi Ortega, 33, was standing near her front porch as the sun began to set and now it's the only part of her house that remains. Around the debris of her double-wide mobile home are the splintered remains of what were several 100-year-old pecan trees.
“You look around and you just can't believe it, it's unreal,” Ortega said. “We are only a few weeks away from moving into our new home, but what we'll miss is all the little things that we lost: photos and my wedding dress are gone. Just memories.”
Adam Kemp is an enterprise reporter and videographer for the Oklahoman and Newsok.com. Kemp grew up in Oklahoma City before attending Oklahoma... read more ›