Claremore Daily Progress

May 20, 2013

Tornadoes knock trucks over, leave trail of damage

Staff Reports
CNHI

SHAWNEE —

Several tornadoes roared through Oklahoma Sunday, knocking semi-trucks off the overpass of U.S. Highway 177 onto Interstate 40 in Shawnee and causing damage on the southeast side of Carney.

The tornadoes were part of a large, northeast-moving storm system stretching from Texas to Minnesota. Tornadoes are possible Monday in Oklahoma.

At least four tornadoes touched down in central Oklahoma. A large wedge-shaped tornado was tracked from Carney, Wellston, Luther to Shawnee.

Tornadoes also were reported in Edmond and the Norman area.

The Central and Western Oklahoma Region chapter of the American Red Cross is setting up shelters in Carney, Shawnee and Little Axe, Director of Communications Ken Garcia said.

“Volunteers are on the ground surveying the damage and driving trucks through neighborhoods to provide drinks, snacks and sports drinks,” he said.

The Red Cross Shelter in Carney is Carney Senior Center, 301 Maple Avenue. There are two shelters in Shawnee — Shawnee Athletic Center at Shawnee High School, 1001 N. Kennedy and Absentee Shawnee Tribe Resource Center, 19702 156th Ave. 

The Red Cross Shelter App and Tornado App will show tornado victims the location of the nearest shelter, Garcia said.

Oklahoma Baptist rapid response teams are in Carney and Shawnee to determine how relief teams will be used Monday, Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma Disaster Relief Director Sam Porter said.

“We will send in chainsaw and relief workers as well as feeding units,” Porter said. “We will be working with emergency management focusing on the key areas of need.”

Damage reports from Carney were unavailable Sunday night. Some comments on social media sites indicated the Carney school may have been damaged.

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin declared a state of emergency for 16 counties, including Payne and Lincoln Sunday.

Two tornadoes were spotted in Shawnee, but the large wedge tornado did the most damage.

It knocked two semi-trucks off the U.S. Highway 177 overpass onto Interstate 40. A third semi tilted dangerously, but didn’t fall. Several cars on Interstate 40 were damaged.

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol reported at least nine vehicles were involved. Interstate 40 and U.S. 177 were closed at 7:26 p.m. Sunday. Portions of the overpass reopened at 9:24 p.m.

The tornado also damaged homes and leveled part of a mobile home park in Shawnee. At least one fatality was reported at the mobile home park near Firelake Grand Casino.

Amanda Hasbell lives approximately three blocks from Interstate 40 in Shawnee. The Hasbell family took refuge in a storm cellar at her in-laws house.

“It was really loud. There was a bunch of noise. You could hear the hail hitting,” Hasbell said. “The cellar door went up and came back down. You could hear things cracking.”

The tornado lasted about two minutes. Hasbell’s house was damaged.

“There are some boards into the ceiling and a big hole. But other than that, ours is fine,” she said.

The May 10, 2011 tornado rolled through her neighborhood as well, she said.

“We were in the cellar then. We didn’t have damage at the house then. Just things in the back yard, but nothing like this. We’ve lived her 15-16 years,” she said.