FREDERICK — A tornado that killed at least 100 calves in western Tillman County on Monday was an EF2, the National Weather Service said Tuesday.
That is a preliminary estimate based on what surveyors have seen in the field, National Weather Service forecaster Doug Speheger said. At least six tornadoes were produced by the storm that moved across western Oklahoma on Monday, Speheger said.
Speheger said tornadoes are unusual in November in Oklahoma, but “certainly not unheard of.”
Tillman County emergency manager Jeff Rector said three barns at a dairy farm in the county were destroyed, killing 100 to 150 calves and destroying some hay, which is a precious commodity during this year of drought.
Rector said also destroyed was a 1,500-square-foot Oklahoma State University wheat research facility about 3.5 miles south of Tipton on State Highway 5.
“It's down to a concrete slab at this point,” Rector said. “It was wiped clean.”
Two homes were heavily damaged in Tillman County. In Kiowa County, a house east of Snyder was damaged, Kiowa County emergency manager Bill Orebaugh said.
A mobile home in Asher was destroyed and a home in Blanchard also sustained major damage, American Red Cross spokesman Rusty Surette said.
In Tuttle, 13 mobile homes were affected, including four mobile homes with major damage and another three with minor damage, Surette said.
Microburst hits airport
Heavy rain also moved through Oklahoma on Monday, causing damage to the University of Oklahoma Max Westheimer Airport and flooding roads across the state.
A number of intersections across the Oklahoma City area were closed because of high water from overnight rains.
Rick Smith, National Weather Service meteorologist in Norman, said a microburst, which is an intense downdraft, hit Max Westheimer Airport in Norman about 11 p.m. Monday.
Tuesday, University of Oklahoma aviation students were helping with the cleanup. Two badly damaged planes were visible on the tarmac, including one that was flipped over. Several other planes had less extensive damage. A number of hangar doors were broken apart or blown off their tracks.
OU spokeswoman Catherine Bishop said preliminary checks have not identified any damage to an OU aircraft.
In yet one more climate surprise in the state, snow fell Monday morning in Cimarron County in far western Oklahoma, but there was no significant accumulation and the snow changed to rain by early afternoon.
Flood damage prompted Oklahoma City officials to close Martin Park Nature Center on Wednesday.
The park, normally open Wednesday through Sunday, will be assessed Wednesday, and officials will determine if it can reopen Thursday, according to a news release.
The flood did not harm wildlife at the park, 5000 W Memorial Road, and the education center wasn't damaged, but high water from Spring Creek caused problems with fences and trails.
Deer Creek schools closed Tuesday because of high water on nearby roads.
Rain isn't drought buster
Gary McManus of the Oklahoma Climatological Survey said Monday's rainfall, though heavy in many parts of the state, was not a drought buster.
“Well, we're not quite there,” McManus said Tuesday. “At this point parts of the state have had significant relief since the first week of October with several rainfall events, particularly about 100 miles centered on and to either side of I-44. It is indeed making a dent in the drought conditions.”
Sixty-one of Oklahoma's Mesonet weather network stations recorded more than 2 inches of rainfall from the systems of recent days. Ringling received more than 7.4 inches.
However, the statewide average precipitation total for the year, as of Tuesday, was 21.09 inches, according to the Oklahoma Mesonet.
That is 11.36 inches below normal and the sixth-driest Jan. 1-Nov. 8 period since 1921.
Going into Tuesday, the official Oklahoma City site at Will Rogers World Airport had recorded 26.93 inches of precipitation since Jan. 1 — still 6.31 inches below normal for the year. Some sites in Oklahoma City have had even less. The Oklahoma Mesonet weather network's site on the campus of Oklahoma State University-Oklahoma City has measured 22.73 inches for the year.
The Panhandle, west central and southwest regions are experiencing the driest such periods on record at 11.98 inches, 14.30 inches and 14.84 inches below normal, respectively.
Hooker in the Panhandle has received only 4.3 inches of precipitation this year.