NWS: Tulsa Tornado Rated EF1, Near 51st And Riverside


Wednesday, April 27th 2016, 6:49 pm
By: Emory Bryan


Teams from the National Weather Service are spread out across Oklahoma trying to confirm about half a dozen tornado reports.

The weather service confirmed an EF 1 tornado hit near 48th and Riverside in Tulsa.

Tree damage helped shore up the decision by the weather service that a tornado touched down. The large trees that line neighborhoods along the river could not stand up to the wind.

The tornadic storm crossed the Arkansas at 49th Street and took down a cluster of trees - a massive weight that remarkably fell on a house - but caused little damage.

“It didn't do too much damage to the actual house, it just took down the electrical stuff,” Gabriel Hill said. “It looked like you just took it and laid it up against the house.”

Family members are helping clean up here and neighbors are working together to pick up limbs for people who can't do it themselves.

An army of electrical crews came into the neighborhood, where the lines were pulled down and some poles snapped by the wind.

That storm crossed the river after striking a west Tulsa neighborhood.

While that storm dropped a tornado just across the river, the people who live nearby are pretty sure they had a tornado as well.

4/26/2016 Related Story: Severe Weather, High Winds Cause Damage Across Green Country

The Winnetka Heights Baptist Church took a hard hit when the storm started across Tulsa. It's on a hill, with a high pitched roof the wind tore off in several places.

On the inside, part of the roof fell into the sanctuary and rain flooded part of the building.

The damage is substantial, but not so much it can't be repaired.

Next door, a family cleaned up several large trees that were toppled by the storm; with wind so strong, no one heard the trees go down.

“We heard the hail coming down and it was scary,” Alexander Ramirez-Medrano said. “The lights went out and I think they went out when we were running to the middle of our house to get to safety.”

At 49th and Maybelle, falling tree limbs left many homes with damage, mostly superficial, but power lines were pulled down and some houses need repairs before they can get electricity again.

Many homes have roof damage.

Several people described it as sudden and short - a powerful wind that caused a lot of damage, but was over quickly.

Storm victim Denise McKinney said, “The walls just shaking really, really, fast, and the wind was coming in from outside; you could see flashes everywhere."

The cleanup started overnight and neighbors already have made substantial progress picking up the limbs and shingles scattered through Winnetka Heights.

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Winnetka Heights Baptist Church Damage, Inside:

Winnetka Heights Baptist Church Damage, Outside: