Tornado strikes Oklahoma City for second time this week


Friday, May 9th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6


OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- A large tornado slammed into north Oklahoma City late Friday, causing significant damage and possible injuries just a day after a twister struck the city's south side.

Spotters tracking the storm reported debris, including overturned cars and downed power lines.

Some of the overturned cars were reported on Interstate-44 in Oklahoma City.

The tornado first touched down west of Oklahoma City along Interstate-40, reportedly damaging a Xerox plant. There also were reports of power flashes in between Mustang and Yukon, two Oklahoma City suburbs.

About 23,000 people were reported without power in Oklahoma City.

Television weathermen reported the tornado was still on the ground after passing through Oklahoma City and appeared to be tracking along Interstate-44.

Earlier, a tornado touched down near Cogar.

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol closed Interstate-44 westbound at the Tulsa gate with a twister reported on the ground and moving toward Chandler.

Bethany police and fire departments were reporting damage as well.

The tornado struck just as the city began cleaning up from a twister that destroyed more than 300 houses and business in and around Oklahoma City on Thursday.

That storm carved a 19-mile path through the most densely populated part of the state, injuring 134 people but killing no one.

The National Weather Service measured winds speeds at about 200 mph in Thursday's storm. That tornado's path took it through south Oklahoma City, with a quarter-mile wide, 31/2-mile long section of Moore taking the brunt of the damage. Homes were ripped apart, trees uprooted and heavy debris scattered on Thursday.

Of those injured in the first storm, 21 remained hospitalized Friday, said Paul O'Leary, a spokesman for Oklahoma City's ambulance service. At least three were in critical condition.

The damage from the first storm prompted Gov. Brad Henry to declare a state of emergency in Cleveland and Oklahoma counties. He also sent a request to President Bush asking for an expedited federal declaration of emergency to clear the way for federal assistance in the cleanup.