Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Bulletin: February 19th Oklahoma Tornado Event
OKLAHOMA CITY -- Multiple tornadoes touched down in central Oklahoma on Tuesday, causing extensive damage to businesses in northwest Oklahoma City and destroying several homes in the Oak Tree area of Edmond.
However, as of early evening Tuesday, no deaths or major injuries have been reported.
Moderate to severe damage was reported in the Oak Tree neighborhood of Edmond. At least six homes along Country Club Drive and Heritage Boulevard were destroyed. The National Weather Service confirmed tornado touched town in Coffee Creek near Kelly.
The Red Cross set up a shelter on Waterloo Road at the Waterloo Road Baptist Church in northern Edmond. The Red Cross is also deploying canteens for emergency responders in the affected areas.
These areas are closed to local traffic. Edmond officials said people living in damaged neighborhoods would need identification to get back in.
About 12,500 OG&E customers were without power, mostly in North Oklahoma City, Eyewitness News 5 reported.
Damage was also confirmed at a Chuck-E-Cheese pizza parlor near Northwest Expressway and Rockwell Avenue in Oklahoma City, and KOCO got several reports of roofs being lifted from homes.
"You could see it starting to form and then it started. It sounded like a train hit, and before we knew it, it was over," said a 19-year-old resident in the area. "We saw a funnel start to touch the ground."
At a Hobby Lobby store in northwest Oklahoma City, doors were blown in and torn off hinges. The front foyer ceiling collapsed, witnesses said, and lighting fell to the ground.
Tornado Forms Live On-Air Near Edmond Middle School
The storms also complicated things for school systems in central Oklahoma, whose administrators had to decide whether to bus kids home or keep them inside. Most opted to keep kids at school, and some students were still not home by 5 p.m.
More than a month away from the traditional start of severe weather season in Oklahoma, severe thunderstorms have developed across the state.
A moderate risk for severe weather was issued for much of the KOCO viewing area on Tuesday morning, and a tornado watch was issued until 8 p.m. for much of southwestern and south-central Oklahoma.
"Large hail, damaging winds and strong tornadoes are possible," said KOCO chief meteorologist Rick Mitchell.
Meteorologist Andy Wallace said there had been some discussion among meteorologists about upgrading the moderate risk for severe weather to a high risk, a rare designation even in Oklahoma.
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