Oologah tornado anniversary

Thursday, April 26th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Ten years ago Thursday, the lives of many people in the Oologah area were changed forever. They survived a devastating tornado that destroyed their homes and their businesses but miraculously no lives.

KOTV's Leanne Taylor recently went back to visit with some of the folks who survived the storm, and what they remember that night. And on April 26th 1991, the tornado came through. The morning after, people were in shock and disbelief. At Beattie's convenience store, everything was gone. Jo Beattie, "I knew it was going to be bad, worse than I thought." "I had a two story house, its now totally gone." The tornado hit the Oologah High school and a home owned by Johnny Bussey. "When I could look back in the east, everything was gone." When daylight broke, Johnny and his family didn't find much. "It's a feeling you can't forget." It was a miracle that no one died in the storm.

Johnny and others say the advance notice played a big part. Bussey says, "We were watching Channel 6." That night, Channel 6 debuted Pathfinder to the world, a new weather tool to help meteorologists plot the time the storms would hit specific areas. The Bussey’s weren't the only ones to lose property in the Oologah tornado. 60 homes were destroyed, 16 trailers, 16 apartments and 30 barns were leveled. The Oologah School complex had some $12-million in damages.

KOTV's Pathfinder made a difference and now there are so many more tools to help in preparing people for the storm.