Oklahoma tornadoes: Traffic congestion added to tornado hazards

People in central Oklahoma hurried to take shelter Tuesday, causing problems on the roadways, including a death in Edmond. Officials recommend drivers get out of their vehicles when tornadoes are reported.
BY DIANA BALDWIN dbaldwin@opubco.com Published: May 26, 2011
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Tim Searcy, of Norman, compared Tuesday's traffic to University of Oklahoma football game day congestion in Norman.

“The volume was there and they were doing crazy stuff to get home and everyone had a phone to their ear,” said Searcy, who was trying to get from Oklahoma City to Norman.

“People were driving erratically,” said Ben Fenwick, who left Rose State College in Midwest City on his way to Norman. “They were weaving more than normal. People were in a hurry.”

Get out of the car

National Weather Service and law enforcement officials recommend drivers immediately seek shelter if there is a tornado warning or tornado seen in the area.

It is not a good idea to outrun a tornado because drivers can run into problems like blocked roads and traffic jams. Some tornadoes are wrapped in rain — making them difficult to see, weather officials said.

West said that as he drove from El Reno to Guthrie Tuesday evening, he saw demolished vehicles and others that were turned upside down and in trees.

“Vehicles aren't the place to be,” West said. “Sometimes bad things happen to good people.”

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