Emergency Crews Assess Damage Caused By Wagoner County Tornado

Monday, May 18th 2015, 7:04 pm
By: News On 6

An assessment of the damage caused by a tornado that hit Wagoner County could help storm victims as they try to rebuild.

Emergency management teams completed their assessment Monday and said the twister damaged 126 homes and businesses.

Two years ago a similar tornado ripped through Wagoner County and primarily impacted rural areas; this time they said the damage is visible throughout the county.

5/31/2013 Related Story: Tornado Damages Homes, Businesses In Broken Arrow

While the tornado left its mark on dozens of homes, others were practically skipped over. Shanricka Wright said the damage to her home is small compared to the people around her.

"It was like a ping pong effect, it just ping ponged. So, yeah, I feel so sorry for them but I'm so grateful because we thought we were going to be killed, we were terrified," she said. "It was just a few seconds but it did so much damage, I just couldn't believe it."

Director of Wagoner County emergency management Heath Underwood said the ping pong effect shows all through the neighborhood.

"We think the tornado was picking up and touching back down, picking up and touching back down," he said.

Sunday, Underwood and other emergency workers toured the area looking for damage.

Of the 126 structures impacted, at least four were destroyed, 35 had major damage, and another 68 had minor damage. The rest were only "affected."

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

"It was spread out form basically county line to county line - from the Tulsa County line to the Rogers County line - so we had a large area we had to cover," Underwood said.

He said following wide-spread destructive events, assessing the damage and presenting it to FEMA is the first step in finding out if federal aid will be given to rebuild.

If the report is substantial enough, FEMA will do a walk through and decide if aid will be given.

The tornado was rated an EF-2, which is considered "strong."

Underwood said, despite the strength and destruction, there were no deaths or injuries.

Since there has been so much weather related issues all over Oklahoma recently, there's no timeline on when FEMA will actually be able to go down its list and make it out to the damaged area.