Oklahoma Residents Fear For Loved Ones In Hurricane's Path


Friday, August 26th 2011, 4:58 pm
By: News On 6


Craig Day, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- As Hurricane Irene gets closer many people here in Oklahoma are worried about friends and loved ones in the storm's path.

When Irene storms up the East Coast it could affect about 65 million people. That includes News On 6 photojournalist Todd Ruffin's grandfather.

"Remember I'm 93 and I've seen a lot of storms," said Bill Ruffin over the phone.

Bill Ruffin, has been through hurricanes before like Floyd and Hazel. But, he's now evacuating his home of 31 years on North Carolina's outer banks, as Irene approaches.

"I left this morning at seven o'clock, and the skies were blue and everything, and all the sounds were calm," he said.

But, experience tells him, it won't stay that way with winds of more than 100 miles per hour forecasted.

"These hurricanes are like, have little tornados inside of them, and sometimes the tornado does damage like a tornado and the heavy winds really don't tear down as much as the tornados do," Ruffin said.

Several neighbors are staying behind, but Ruffin is evacuating from his home Manteo, North Carolina to stay with a friend further inland.

8/26/2011 Related Story: Hurricane Irene Likely To Cause Delays, Cancellations At Tulsa International Airport

"If you don't evacuate then you're on your own you know," he said.

Owasso resident Amber Adair is glad many people are evacuating. She's also worried about friends there.

"Just hoping that they get out and that their house is still standing when they get back," Adair said.

Adair went through Hurricane Ivan in 2007, while stationed in Pensacola, Florida with the Navy. Adair says, she wouldn't want to experience a hurricane again.

"We got flooding damage. It looked like the walls were crying actually as the water kind of came in," she said.

With that kind of rain, and flooding likely from the Ocean and Sound near his home, 93-year-old Bill Ruffin isn't taking chances.

Bill Ruffin has been given a pass by emergency officials to return to the area after the storm passes. He hopes to go back home on Monday.