Many people in Quapaw say they never heard the tornado sirens. The National Weather Service issued the tornado warning while the storm was passing through.
The National Weather Service said the town was under severe thunderstorm and a tornado watch. They say this is a case when a tornado formed and moved faster than officials could.
Quapaw took a direct hit from Sunday's tornado. Homes, businesses and parts of the volunteer fire department were damaged in a matter of seconds.
Police Chief, Gary Graham, said by the time he realized the tornado was coming it was too late.
"We had very little warning, I think it formed right here in town, it was here before anyone knew it. We did the best we could; but circumstances just kinda got the better of us and we didn't have much opportunity to warn other people. It's hard to warn other people when we don't know. It's unfortunate that is happened that way and I'm not happy that it happened that way, but I don't know what else we could of done," Graham said.
The National Weather Service did issue a severe thunderstorm warning at 5:17 p.m.
Steve Piltz with The National Weather Service, said, "A tornado warning was never formally issued. The first real signs of danger was right at Quapaw. It was really a worst case scenario where the tornado forms rapidly over town. By the time the warning was issued the tornado was moving toward Kansas.
Thirty minutes before the tornado hit, the area was under a tornado watch, but there wasn't enough time to sound the sirens.
"We say that we have an average of 15 minutes of warning often times that's 30 combined with zero. So sometimes it does happen without warning and everybody just has to be real alert on those tornado days," Piltz said.
Meteorologists had been warning about the possibility of tornadoes for several days and say it's important for people to pay attention to what's going on outside and be ready.
"But still in all we should have been able to narrow that down a bit more, at least we would've liked to narrow that down much more quickly but sometimes nature just doesn't cooperate," Piltz said.
The weather service said local communities are in charge of their own sirens. They depend on storm spotters as well as the National Weather Service to determine when to sound the sirens.