Frightened Okla. residents opt to flee tornadoes

Published on NewsOK Modified: June 1, 2013 at 8:04 pm •  Published: June 1, 2013
Advertisement
;

Tens of thousands were without power, and only eight minor injuries were reported. Gov. Jay Nixon declared a state of emergency.

Northeast of St. Louis and across the Mississippi, the city of Roxana was hit by an EF3 tornado as well, but National Weather Service meteorologist Jayson Gosselin said it wasn't clear whether the damage in both states came from the same EF3 twister or separate ones.

Back in Oklahoma, Amy Williamson, who lives just off I-40 in the western Oklahoma City suburb of Yukon, said when she learned the tornado was moving toward her home, she piled her two young children, baby sitter and two cats into her SUV.

"We felt like getting out of the way was the best idea," Williamson said. "It was 15 minutes away from my house, and they were saying it was coming right down I-40, so we got in the car and decided to head south."

Williamson said she knows emergency officials recommend taking shelter inside a structure, but fresh in her mind was the devastation of the Moore tornado. Seeing homes stripped to their foundation made her think that fleeing was the best idea, she said.

"I'm a seasoned tornado watcher ... but I just could not see staying and waiting for it to hit," she said. She ended up riding out the storm in a hospital parking garage.

On Saturday, muddy floodwaters stood several feet deep in the countryside surrounding the metro area. Torrential downpours followed for hours after the twisters moved east — up to 7 inches of rain in some parts — and the city's airport had water damage. Some flights resumed Saturday.

The Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office said the body of a man who went missing from his vehicle early Saturday near Harrah, east of Oklahoma City, was found later in a creek by deputies. Roadways around the area were crumbling because of water, especially near an intersection in northeastern Oklahoma City and in Canadian County south of I-40, between Mustang and Yukon.

When the storm passed between El Reno and Yukon, it barreled down I-40 for more than two miles, ripping billboards down to twisted metal frames. Debris was tangled in the median's crossover barriers, including huge pieces of sheet metal, tree limbs and a giant oil drum. The warped remains of a horse trailer lay atop a barbed-wire fence less than 50 yards from the highway.

The Oklahoma Corporation Commission reported more than 91,800 homes and businesses across the state remained without power Saturday.

___

Sean Murphy can be reached at www.twitter.com/apseanmurphy.

___

Associated Press writers Ken Miller in Oklahoma City and Jim Suhr in St. Louis contributed to this report.

| |

Advertisement


Trending Now



AROUND THE WEB

  1. 1
    Oklahoma City Thunder: Grizzlies guard Nick Calathes calls drug suspension unfair
  2. 2
    Dave Chappelle Reveals Shockingly Buff New Look
  3. 3
    Peaches Geldof Funeral to Be Held on Easter Monday
  4. 4
    Mayor Who Fired Lesbian Police Chief Caught On Tape In Homophobic Tirade
  5. 5
    NBA commissioner wants to raise age limit to 20
+ show more