Storms cause damage, injuries and three deaths in northern Texas and Oklahoma
The Associated Press,March 5, 2004
Emergency workers repaired downed power lines and assessed other damage early Friday after line of severe thunderstorms bore down on northern Texas and Oklahoma with heavy rain, high winds and twisters.
The storms overturned mobile homes, ripped roofs off other buildings and snarled airport and freeway traffic across the area Thursday. Three traffic deaths were blamed on the storm in Oklahoma.
Several twisters were reported in Texas, where straight-line gusts of up to 80 mph overturned tractor-trailer rigs. A number of homes were damaged or destroyed in East Texas and minor injuries were reported.
School officials in Tuscola, where classes were canceled Friday, said it would take most of spring break to clean up damage.
In the Myrtle Springs and Fruitvale communities, Sheriff Pat Burnett said damage resulted from both a tornado and straight-line winds. ''We really got hit hard here. There are homes badly damaged and there have been some injuries reported,'' he said.
A man and his son in Copeville were injured when their mobile home was lifted and carried about 50 to 60 yards, authorities said.
Storm cells marched eastward in a solid line stretching 250-300 miles from Central Oklahoma to Central Texas, said Alan Moller, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Fort Worth. He said brief tornado touchdowns were reported between San Angelo and Abilene, east of Mineral Wells, north of Springtown and parts of Denton County.
In eastern Oklahoma, three people were killed in storm-related traffic accidents.
A motorist whose vehicle hydroplaned, crossed the median and slammed into a tractor trailer was killed just before 5 p.m. Thursday northwest of Tulsa. About an hour earlier near the southeastern Oklahoma of McAlester, a 47-year-old woman and her 18-year-old daughter were killed when their vehicle slid across the rain-slicked interstate into another car.
In southwestern Oklahoma, the hardest hit area of the state, winds toppled power transmission lines and destroyed a hangar and airplane at the Chattanooga Airport, authorities said.
''It was a nice plane,'' said Paul Prescott, son-in-law of the owner of the Ercoupe aircraft. ''These aren't made anymore. It's irreplaceable.''
The storm passed so quickly that emergency operations officials didn't have enough time to warn Chattanooga residents, though no injuries were reported. Funnels were seen after a tornado warning was issued, but there was no confirmation that anything touched down, officials said.
To the northeast, high winds ripped 2,500 square feet of roof off the Trading Post in Cache. A woman in the store was injured when roofing material hit her in the face.
Nearby, a 15-year-old boy climbed out the wreckage of his mobile home flipped onto its side. The teen and his dog made it safely to a neighbor's house.
To the north and east, heavy rain drove swollen rivers and creeks over their banks and caused other problems.
More than 3 inches of rain fell in parts of central Oklahoma, flooding a Del City apartment complex and closing streets across the Oklahoma City metropolitan area.