Four, Including Infant, Killed in Okla. Storms
NOWATA, Okla. – Northeast Oklahoma is cleaning up after violent and deadly thunderstorms. At least four people were killed Friday when winds gusting up to 35 miles per hour blew through the area.
Three of the victims – two adults and an infant – died when their mobile home was destroyed in Nowata County, located along Oklahoma’s border with Kansas. They were found in a creek.
CBS Affiliate KOTV reports two grandparents were babysitting their granddaughter when the storm came.
When first responders got to the scene, the home was ripped to shreds and their bodies were nowhere to be found. The family was eventually located in a creek about 50 yards away.
Although there was a storm cellar on the property, residents said there wasn’t much warning that the storm would get so severe so quickly. “This came in so fast, and originally you thought it was just going to be a nice little rain, and then, all at once, the wind hit. So, there wasn’t time for anybody to do anything. I mean, it just came in way too fast,” Nowata County Undersheriff Doug Sonenberg told KOTV
Family members said two other grandchildren were picked up from that house about 30 minutes before the storm blew through.
The storm’s fourth victim, a truck driver, was killed when powerful straight-line winds flipped his rig onto a cement barrier wall, trapping the driver inside for nearly three hours near Afton in Ottawa County, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol reported.
Jimmy King, 70, of Ash Grove, Mo., died at the scene of massive injuries, troopers said.
The storms were part of storm system and cold front that collided with triple-digit temperatures in much of the state on Friday. Wind gusts topping 70 mph were reported at Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma City.
Damage to some roofs and a garage also were reported in Nowata County, and tree and power line damage was reported in the Oklahoma City metropolitan area. The winds and storms caused more than 18,100 power outages in western, central and northeastern Oklahoma.
The heavy winds propelled grass fires across the area, and Osage County Undersheriff Lou Ann Brown told the Tulsa World that four people had to be evacuated. Crews were able to slow most of the blazes, and rainfall was expected to assist with the efforts, Brown said.
In just an hour at Tulsa International Airport, the temperature dropped from 101 degrees to 78 degrees.
Marianne McGovern, a legal assistant, said the winds caused her downtown Tulsa office building to sway Friday afternoon.
“You sit here and you feel like you’re on a ship kind of,” she said. “Everybody was coming out in the hall saying, ‘Did you feel that?’” (CBS/AP)