Five People Injured In Oklahoma Tornado
Thursday, March 29th 2007, 5:03 pm
News On 6
OKLAHOMA Injured CITY (AP) -- A tornado moved through northwestern Oklahoma City Thursday, injuring at least five people, including a 7-year-old girl and a couple critically hurt when their travel trailer was destroyed.
The man and woman who were in the trailer were transported to a hospital by paramedics, said Emergency Medical Services Authority spokeswoman Lara O'Leary.
A 7-year-old girl was taken to a hospital, where she received 17 staples for cuts, and two people were injured when the van he was driving along the Kilpatrick Turnpike was thrown from the highway into a concrete culvert, said Oklahoma City Deputy Fire Chief Tony Young.
More than 50 buildings sustained heavy damage, power poles were snapped and trees were uprooted along a path of destruction about seven miles long, Young said.
"Our command post is set up, and we're taking this by mile sections and sending crews out to check on people," Young said.
It was the second straight day of volatile weather in the Midwest. There were at least 65 tornado reports Wednesday in Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas, Colorado and Nebraska, according to the National Weather Service. Four deaths were reported in those storms.
Based on Thursday's damage, the National Weather Service confirmed that a tornado had gone through the Oklahoma City area at about 4:20 p.m. CDT.
Joyce Eels, who lives in far northwestern Oklahoma City, said the tornado took off most of the roof of her home, but she counted herself lucky that nobody was home when the storm hit.
"All the important things are OK. My husband and family are OK. That's the important stuff," Eels said. "My husband's words when he saw the damage were: 'I don't think we'll be staying here for a while."
"An 18-wheeler was blown over, eight to 10 cars are in a ditch, power poles are broken, trees are overturned, there's heavy roof damage, outbuildings destroyed," said Ty Judd, a National Weather Service meteorologist. "We can safely call that a tornado."
A second tornado touched down briefly near Hillsdale in north-central Oklahoma, knocking down power lines and damaging four barns, but there were no reports of injuries, said Garfield County Emergency Management Director Mike Honigsberg.
Oklahoma Gas and Electric said about 12,000 customers lost power, but the utility had that outage figure down to 6,000 within about an hour. Only about 400 customers, most of them in western Oklahoma city, were without power later Thursday night.
Television news video showed a private jet had run off the end of the runway into grass and mud at Wiley Post Airport in western Oklahoma City.
The National Weather Service issued a tornado watch Thursday afternoon for 34 counties stretching from the northeastern corner of the state near Missouri to south-central Oklahoma along the Texas border and including all of southeastern Oklahoma except McCurtain County in the farthest southeastern corner of the state.
Tulsa, the largest city in northeastern Oklahoma, was included in the tornado watch area and a severe thunderstorm warning.
The storms that pummeled the area were the result of an upper-level storm system pushing wet, moist air over the region, where it mixed with cooler air and caused waves of severe thunderstorms, said NWS forecaster Daryl Williams.
The system is expected to remain in the state through Friday evening before it moves east and out of the state, and the threat of severe weather is expected to lessen as the storm passes, Williams said.
"Until it moves out, it's going to kick off heavy thundershowers and rain," Williams said.
On Wednesday night, Vance and Barbra Woodbury of Elmwood were killed when a tornado blew apart their home in the Oklahoma Panhandle.
The tornado struck about 2 miles east of Elmwood, a small community in southern Beaver County, about 250 miles northwest of Oklahoma City, said Michelann Ooten, a spokeswoman for the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management.
In the Texas Panhandle, Monte Ford, 53, of Elk City, Okla., died Wednesday evening when he was thrown from a trailer when it rolled from high winds in a Hemphill County oilfield, authorities said. He was an employee of Houston-based Express Energy Services.
In the small eastern Colorado town of Holly, a tornado as wide as two football fields killed one person and injured at least 10, authorities said.
For SkyNews 9 video of the damage click here.
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