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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Tornadoes hit Oklahoma and Arkansas Wednesday

3/27/2015 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Tornadoes hit Oklahoma and Arkansas Wednesday Bad storms need the air to be both warm and moist and that wasn't the case for most of March.

Oklahoma Tornadoes

On Wednesday, one individual was killed and many others were injured as the result of different tornadoes that ran through Tulsa during its evening rush hour. According to Tulsa County Sheriff's Capt. Billy McKelvey, one person was killed in their mobile home near the suburban Sand Springs. The whole Sand Springs area was practically destroyed Wednesday during the intense weather.

As of now, it is not certain whether or not the death was the result of the tornado itself or straight-line winds that hit the park. McKelvey stated that the park could hold anywhere from 40 to 50 trailers at a time. Overall, though, 15 people were believed to have been hurt from the storm. However, McKelvey does not have an exact number yet. "It could have been much worse," he said.

Tornadoes didn't just hit Tulsa, they were seen elsewhere in Oklahoma. There were also some tornadoes at this time in Arkansas, although there were no injuries reported from those. Back in 2013, Oklahoma was also dealt with fatal tornadoes when one went through parts of Moore. This Oklahoma City suburb was faced with 24 deaths from this EF5 tornado. Before Tuesday, it had been over a month since the last time the United States saw a tornado. 

Much of the damage caused from these tornadoes could be seen on television. The news showed video from Wednesday evening where roof damage was evident throughout a Moore neighborhood. In fact, the glass door that is on the Tulsa building that is home to the National Weather Service was completely smashed. A bunch of cars in the parking lot even had their windows cracked. 

Don Ruffin, a resident in the Moore area, said that he was with a neighbor at a local convenience store when he saw the tornado quickly coming closer. "I don't know how close it was to us, but it looked like it was coming toward us, and so we didn't take any chances," Ruffin said. "We got in our vehicles, ran home and got in our shelters." Ruffin said once the storm was over, there were some fences on the ground and "patio furniture thrown everywhere."

The Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management made a note that statewide, there were roughly 80,000 power outages reported. The Oklahoma Highway Patrol also reported that there was an overturned tractor-trailer on Interstate 35, which had completely stopped all traffic. 

The tornado season usually kicks up for most parts of the United States in March, but thanks to the weather patterns Oklahoma was experiencing these storms weren't much of an issue before this past week happened. Bad storms need the air to be both warm and moist and that wasn't the case for most of March. However, this week southerly winds turned the temperatures into the 70s and 80s range for these areas. Weather fronts then took that air and transformed them into Wednesday's storm.

While the tornado in Oklahoma was categorized as a EF5 tornado, the one that hit northwest Arkansas on Tuesday night will likely be classified as an EF0. An EF0 is the weakest level of a tornado, with wind speeds coming in at anywhere from 65 to 85 mph. Meteorologist Jeff Hood from Little Rock said that this tornado was actually a waterspout, which means it never even made it onto land. Instead, it formed completely over water.

Prior to this week, there were only about two-dozen twisters total for this year. Typically, this number is about 120. The last time that the Storm Prediction Center is reporting that the United States had no twisters in March was about 50 years ago.

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