Claremore Daily Progress

State/Nation

April 28, 2014

Gov. Fallin tours Quapaw storm damage

QUAPAW —

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin toured tornado-ravaged Quapaw on Monday, telling residents the state has issued an emergency declaration to kick-start cleanup and rebuilding efforts.
“We can begin the process of rebuilding in Quapaw,” she said.
On man, 68-year-old John L. Brown, of Baxter Springs, Kan., died when a concrete wall fell on his car, and six others were reportedly taken to hospitals with injuries. 
Fallin said the tornado that struck around 5:30 p.m. Sunday also destroyed Quapaw’s fire station and at least five businesses and other structures.
Quapaw Police Chief Gary Graham said about 60 structures sustained some damage. Authorities said the tornado that hit Quapaw, a town of about 900 residents, was a “bit of a strange anomaly” with the governor noting that tornado warnings had been not been issued at the time. After hitting Quapaw, the twister continued north into Kansas and struck Baxter Springs, about 5 miles away. Cherokee County, Kan., emergency manager Jason Allison said 60 to 70 homes and 20 to 25 businesses were destroyed. No deaths were reported in Baxter Springs.
Bill Davis, a meteorologist in Springfield, Mo., said tornado sirens didn’t sound in Baxter Springs until right before the twister hit the town because of how quickly it formed.
“That’s what happened in Quapaw, too,” Davis said. “It’s that worst-case scenario where a tornado forms right in a populated area. It was within a minute of the warning.”
“That thing formed so rapidly,” Davis said. “We looked at one scan when that thing started, and it already had gone through Quapaw.”
John Berrey, chairman of the Quapaw Tribe, said about 200 people had gone to a shelter there because they were aware of the forecast, even though the more serious tornado warning had not been issued.
“We get used to knowing what it looks like when it gets scary,” Berrey said. “Unfortunately we are pretty used to this kind of weather.”

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