Barnsdall Residents Say Early Warning Of Tornado Saved Lives

People caught in the path of the Barnsdall tornado say they were watching our Oklahoma Weather Experts when the storm started and continued to grow in strength. These residents had a nearly 45-minute heads-up that the storm was very dangerous.

Thursday, May 9th 2024, 6:18 pm

By: Cal Day


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People caught in the path of the Barnsdall tornado say they were watching our Oklahoma Weather Experts when the storm started and continued to grow in strength. These residents had a nearly 45-minute heads-up that the storm was very dangerous.

The mayor of Barnsdall said the notice of how bad the storm could be helped a lot of people get to shelter before it arrived.

“We could see lightning, then all the sudden, you could see the funnel during the lightning,” said John Henry Mashunkashey, a Barnsdall homeowner. 

Mashunkashey’s home was caught in the path of the EF-4 tornado. He was inside with his granddaughter when the storm roared into town.

“I told my granddaughter, 'You hear that train?'” he said. “Then it got real quiet."

News On 6 meteorologists say the recipe for bad storms was brewing for days. The formation of this storm caused concern early on.

“The National Weather Service did a phenomenal job of issuing the warnings with that storm and downstream of that storm to give everyone that was in the path of that tornado as much advanced warning as they possibly could,” said Stephen Nehrenz, News On 6 meteorologist.

Mashunkashey is thankful he had a shelter to go inside of when the tornado arrived. The longtime home he shared with his late wife is now painted with an “X” – signaling an eventual demolition.

“She got sick and passed away. I asked her what do you want me to do. She told me stay in that home. I’ll give it to you, you stay in it forever,” said Mushankashey. “Well, forever came to an end on Monday night.”

Mashunkashey is staying in Pawhuska now that his home is destroyed.

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