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Oklahoma tornadoes: Oklahoma counts dead, wounded from new tornadoes, flash floods

Less than two weeks after deadly tornadoes ravaged Moore and south Oklahoma City, Oklahomans are once again counting their dead and wounded in Canadian and Oklahoma counties.
by Randy Ellis Modified: June 2, 2013 at 2:01 am •  Published: June 2, 2013

Less than two weeks after deadly tornadoes ravaged Moore and south Oklahoma City, Oklahomans are once again counting their dead and wounded.

Eleven people were killed in Friday night's tornadoes and ensuing flash floods and another 104 were injured.

Tens of thousands of people found themselves sitting in the dark, wondering if power would be restored before their food spoiled.

Downtown Oklahoma City was a mess of flooded basements.

Residents of the Crutcho area of south Oklahoma City woke up to stormwaters climbing up the sides of their homes. Water rescue teams evacuated about 100 residences.

Deaths came in the tornado and its watery aftermath.

The state medical examiner confirmed nine fatalities from the tornadoes, two children and seven adults. Two other storm-related fatalities were reported by law enforcement.

James C. Talbert died after he drove his vehicle off a washed out bridge at E Hefner and N Dobbs Road in eastern Oklahoma County early Saturday morning, the Oklahoma County sheriff's office reported.

And the Oklahoma Highway Patrol reported that Dorenia Akins, 69, of Clearview drowned Saturday morning after driving into the high rushing waters of flooded Alabama Creek, south of Clearview on an Okfuskee County road.

More flooding deaths were feared. A rescue team from the Oklahoma City Fire Department was searching the Oklahoma River Saturday for several members of a family that took refuge in a drainage ditch and may have been swept into the river. The body of a 4-year-old from that family was recovered, but it was unclear Saturday whether his death was included in the count provided by the medical examiner's office.

Power outages

Power outages continued to be widespread, with OG&E reporting more than 53,000 residents were still without power at 8 p.m. Cox at one point reported 46,000 customers without telephone service.

Kathleen O'Shea, spokeswoman for OG&E, said efforts to restore power were more difficult than normal after a tornado because the current outages are scattered over a wide geographical area and flooding is hindering access in some areas.

“This is more like an ice storm,” she said of the complexity of the challenge. “This one is going to take us a little longer to get an assessment.”

O'Shea said OG&E sent two helicopters up Saturday to survey damage and assist in developing a plan of attack.

Workers had to pump water out of underground electrical equipment vaults in downtown Oklahoma City, she said.

The devastation caused by Friday night's tornadoes became clearer by daylight Saturday.

Damage surveyed

Canadian County Sheriff Randall Edwards said he took a helicopter ride Saturday morning to survey the damage and estimated 150 structures were badly damaged.

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by Randy Ellis
Investigative Reporter
For the past 30 years, staff writer Randy Ellis has exposed public corruption and government mismanagement in news articles. Ellis has investigated problems in Oklahoma's higher education institutions and wrote stories that ultimately led to two...
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