Downburst Winds Leave Trail Of Damage In Nowata County


Friday, July 20th 2012, 2:36 pm
By: Craig Day


Some badly needed rain fell Thursday, but the high winds that came with it took a toll on parts of Green Country. A severe thunderstorm met with a layer of dry air causing damaging downburst winds in Nowata and Craig Counties.

Storms blew into that area from about 4:30 to 5:30 p.m., according to News On 6 WARN Team meteorologist Alan Crone. Wind speeds were estimated at 65 to 70 mph.

7/20/2012 Related Story: After Rain Relief, Tulsa's High Expected To Climb To 109 Degrees

One Nowata County resident said a neighbor's semi-trailer, that was disconnected and used for storage, was blown over a fence and landed on their flatbed trailer.

"We were in shock, I mean, we didn't know what was going to happen," Kevin Freeman said.

Like everyone else, Freeman had hoped he wouldn't miss out on rain. Instead, the wind tossed the heavy trailer over a fence, landing it on top of a 16-foot flat-bed trailer and within a few feet of Freemans' home.

Freeman said, "8, 280 pounds empty is what we're seeing on that sign up there. Thank the Lord it didn't hit the house, that's the biggest thing."

The sudden downburst of wind caused more damage in that same area north of Nowata, which peeled the roofs off barns, splintered trees and overturned out-buildings.

"It had to be a pretty good, dramatic wind that hit just all at once in one isolated spot," Nowata County Undersheriff Doug Sonnenberg said.

A shot from the storm from our Bartlesville SKYCAM showed the power of the storm as it pointed toward Nowata.

The wind caused quite a bit of damage at Jack and Estelle Duggars' place too, including to a trailer.

"It made a big mess, it sure did," Jack Duggar said.

To make matters worse, their trailer was brand new. It ended up about 50 yards away.

The section with damage is limited to a small geographic area, but it left the few unlucky ones with a big cleanup job.

"I just thought, 'Well, my goodness,' but I was so thankful to have a good bed to sleep in and it didn't hurt the house," Estelle Duggar said.

As they all wait for insurance adjustors, they can't help but be amazed at how sudden and powerful the storm was, and wishing they would have at least gotten some rain along with the wind.

Broken Arrow and part of Tulsa also sustained damage in the storm.

News On 6 anchor and reporter Craig Day has been in Nowata County Friday surveying the damage. News On 6 viewers can watch Craig's story in the 5 p.m. newscast.