Oklahomans Cleaning Up After Triple Tornadoes At Lake Tenkiller
COOKSON, Oklahoma - The aftermath of the EF-2 twister that hugged the eastern shore of Lake Tenkiller last fall is still evident. Skip Johnson and his wife Suzie survived the powerful storm by bracing themselves against a water tank and a concrete wall.
"It was quite an experience," Johnson says.
Now in less than four months, they're bouncing back and their home is almost move-in ready.
"You just want to curl up in a ball; serves no purpose," he says.
Snake Creek Marina was hit so hard, it's difficult to put a dollar amount on the damage.
"Oh my gosh, millions probably," says Snake Creek Representative Amy Brown.
She and her husband had a boat at the marina. It was blown across the cove into a campground during the storm. Brown says the owner, general manager and any help they can find have been out here working dawn until dusk every day.
She says there are still many boats that are either submerged or unclaimed by their owners.
"We want to see it come back as fast as possible,” Brown says. “You know, obviously we see there's tons of work."
She hopes that they will have 60 slips installed and ready to go by May 1st. That's a third of what they had before.
As is the case with many tornadoes, the extent of the damage isn't always obvious.
"Now all the trees are gone,” says Brandi Little. “That's where the tornado dipped down."
Little co-owns Sixshooter Resort, which is a full service marina with slips, a restaurant, mobile homes and cabins. She says the tornado came within yards of her own house and did structural damage to the marina.
They’ve sunk $150,000 and a thousand hours of labor into repairs so far.
"You have six months to make 12 months of finances to get you through the winter," Little says.
As the re-building continues in this lakeside town, whether it's the couple who lost their retirement home or a marina that's starting over from square one - there's a sense that brighter days are ahead.