Month after tornado, cleanup continues in Oklahoma

Cleanup continues a month after the May 10 tornado outbreak in Oklahoma

by Bryan Painter Modified: June 10, 2010 at 6:23 am •  Published: June 10, 2010

/> She would however, be more than happy to one day say that the first tornado she experienced was the last she had to endure.

Memories and divots
Having learned from the tragedy of the fire, Jackie didn't want to lose what few family photos she had. So about 5 p.m. May 10, she loaded a tote box with pictures and carried it as well as three other boxes with important papers to the storm cellar. A little later, Jackie, some family members and her dog gathered in the back end of the 20-foot long shelter.

One reason they went to the back end is that the cellar, at least since they've lived there, hasn't had a door on it.

"I knew we had a tornado,” she said. "I'd never been in one but I looked up at one point. I kind of just peeked up because we were all huddled together and holding onto each other. I looked up and there was a wall of brown dirt and grass and it was whipping in there. And then everything shook, that's when the box car hit, but we didn't know that until afterwards.”

Yes, the box car. After showing me where it had sat before the tornado, Jackie pointed to the divots caused by the box car and to the chunk of concrete missing from part of the storm cellar entrance. The divots continue a little after that and then no other marks, just the box car laying against a tree.

This EF-3 tornado, about a half-mile wide, stayed on the ground for nine miles. It destroyed much, including several homes, according to the preliminary damage survey results of the National Weather Service.

The box car is not all that the area around the pecan trees caught. There are pieces of neighbors' roofs, barrels that look like crushed pop cans and a shoe — none of which belonged to the Dunsworths.

For three nights Howard and Jackie slept in a tent and their son stayed in their green Ford Taurus. Then some friends brought campers and later a travel trailer.

For now, that's home and the Dunsworth family is thankful for their safety.

"Everyone's OK,” Jackie said. "I don't know a fancy way of saying it, but I do know God never gives you more than you can handle.”


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by Bryan Painter
Assistant Local Editor
Bryan Painter, assistant local editor, has 31 years’ experience in journalism, including 22 years with the state's largest newspaper, The Oklahoman. In that time he has covered such events as the April 19, 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah...
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