SPAVINAW — Strong winds hit Mayes and Delaware counties early Thursday, blowing the roof off the Spavinaw school building and damaging numerous residences and businesses.
Meteorologist Peter Snyder with the National Weather Service in Tulsa said Thursday's storm had not been declared a tornado but rotation was seen on the weather radars.
“Crews were on the ground on Thursday to determine if the storm was a tornado,” Snyder said.
The storm hit between 1 and 1:30 a.m. Only minor injuries were reported, but power outages were widespread throughout the area.
A preliminary report shows 30 structures in the Spavinaw area received damage, said Mike Dunham, Mayes County Emergency Management spokesman.
Nearly every business along the community's four-block-long main roadway was damaged and three mobile homes and one house were destroyed, he said.
“We are just glad to be alive,” said Rita Wright, who runs Hobb's Trailer Park.
All 12 mobile homes in the park were damaged, she said.
The Spavinaw school was closed Thursday after the roof was blown away. The mangled roof resembled a large crumpled piece of tarp lying amid shards of broken glass, downed power lines, and splintered utility poles.
“We just put a new roof on and now it's laying out back,” said Bill Cagle, school board member.
The school board held an emergency school board meeting Thursday afternoon.
“We hope to be back in session next week,” Principal Christine Midgley said.
The American Red Cross set up a shelter at the Spavinaw United Methodist Church and fed people throughout the day. The Rev. Lora Stiles said they were preparing for 50 people to sleep in the church Thursday night.
Homes are damaged
In the Butler community 8 miles southeast of Grove, five residences were damaged and the fire station lost four doors, volunteer Fire Chief Randy Prins said.
The west wall of Randy and Dawn Brewer's two-story home was blown out and the house was knocked eight feet off its foundation, dumping the house's contents into the front yard.
Strong winds also knocked Doris and John Masters' home off its foundation and shattered the windows.