Tornado Touches Down In Quapaw, Kills 1

Sunday, April 27th 2014, 7:14 pm
By: News On 6

The small Ottawa County town of Quapaw was devastated by a deadly tornado about 5:30 p.m. on Sunday.

The Associated Press reported early that there were two deaths as a result of the storm, but Quapaw authorities told News On 6 there was only one death.

The tornado developed extremely fast, and it went from a thundershower to a storm with rotation in minutes, which didn't provide much time for warning, News On 6 chief meteorologist Travis Meyer said.

The tornado appears to have ripped a mile-long path through the town center. In an aerial view from Osage SkyNews 6, we could see that at least 10 homes or structures were completely destroyed in the downtown area and dozens of others have major damage.

"It was here before anybody knew it," a Quapaw firefighter said. "We did the best we could… we didn't have much opportunity to warn other people. I don't know what else we could have done."

Kristi Wallace, a spokesperson for Baptist Regional Health Center says the hospital had six patients from Quapaw with tornado-related injuries. Four were listed in good condition and two were in fair condition late Sunday evening, Wallace said.

Quapaw is about 20 miles southwest of Joplin.

Ottawa County Emergency Management has requested Tulsa Red Cross send volunteers to Quapaw to set up sheltering operations in response to the storm.

Baxter Springs, Kan., also had a tornado touchdown shortly after the touchdown in Quapaw. Baxter Springs is north of Quapaw across the Kansas state line on U.S. Highway 69.

A house was moved off its foundation and left in the middle of the street, and from Osage SkyNews 6, the damage appears to be a mile long and about 150 meters wide through a residential area.

According to our CBS affiliate in Joplin, the Baxter Springs School District has canceled school for Monday.

At one point on Sunday, nearly 5,000 customers were without power in the Commerce, Fairland and Quapaw areas, KOAM reports.