Horses Weather Inola Tornado Outside Stable

Monday, May 18th 2015, 8:13 pm
By: Tess Maune

Homeowners are cleaning up what Saturday night's storms left behind.

In Inola, the path of the EF-1 tornado was clear by the homes that took a hit and the trees that were severed.

Those who live closest to the destruction said they're just thankful it wasn't worse.

5/18/2015 Related Story: Weather Service Rates Broken Arrow Tornado EF-2, Inola EF-1

When a tornado was on track to blow through Inola, the Graves family decided to leave their horses to run, instead of being stuck in the stalls, a decision that may have saved their lives, because the stable took a pretty hard hit.

Jack Graves' horses Ruger, Preacher and Ed are still finding their footing after surviving a storm that stripped away the roof to their stable.

“They were pretty jumpy,” he said. “I've grown up knowing most animals can kind of take care of themselves, given a chance.”

While the trio followed their animal instincts to stay safe, Graves, who was watching from the porch, followed his intuition too.

“It was an ominous cloud,” he recalled. “When the sound came, I didn't need to think about it much longer.”

That sound is one he'd always heard about but never experienced firsthand until Saturday night.

“It was a classic train. It was very loud and it was very distinct, there was no mistaking,” said Graves.

That's when he took shelter with his family.

“Within seconds of getting in, it hit,” he said.

And just like, it was over.

His family walked out to see the horse barn had been hit, the roof to their home was damaged and one of their two shops across the street was flattened.

Monday, the Inola High School football team was out helping clean up throughout the community, and a friend donated an excavator for the heavier lifting.

“The most amazing part of the thing has been the outpouring of support from our friends, neighbors, people at school and church,” said Graves.

Down the hill from the Graves', Dwight Stonebarger and his family plucked debris from their yard.

“A lot of cleanup, and just the force, ya know, what Mother Nature can do, you just never know,” he said.

A shingle that splintered through a post on the back porch is an example of that power; and two perfectly untouched robin's eggs nested in a tree out front shows, once again, it was a storm of survival.

News On 6 Chief Meteorologist, Travis Meyer, said there have been horses that didn't survive the elements in the past, but that they have a better chance of survival when they're able to run free instead of being stuck in the stables.