Sixteen years ago April 24, 1993, a tornado ripped through Catoosa, killing seven people and injuring at least 100 others. Among those caught in the storm were Claremore Police Chief Mickey Perry and his wife Kathy who were dining at Angler’s Steak House in Catoosa when the storm hit.
According to Kathy’s account of the event, a seemingly fair day with a threat of rain turned deadly very quickly. The restaurant windows seemed to explode and Kathy held onto a table leg until it was ripped away. Mickey held onto her legs she stayed as flat as possible to avoid being sucked from the building.
“The roar of the wind, the noise from breaking glass, sheet metal being torn to pieces, and the falling of steel beams was deafening,” wrote Kathy of that evening.
Debris hit her arms and back. She suffered two broken ribs in addition to bruises, cuts and abrasions sustained from the flying debris.
The roof was torn off the restaurant. After the storm they walked outside to assess the damage. Kathy said it looked like a war zone.
“The cars that had been parked side by side were now slammed into one another,” wrote Kathy. “Others were in the middle of the lot, dirty, filled with debris, and broken out windows, some of the cars were upside down. I looked for my car. It had been picked up from its parking place and set on its side on top of the building.”
Six of the victims who died in that tornado were in cars when the tornado crossed I-44. Another victim was reportedly in a mobile home. Some accounts say 100 mobile homes were destroyed.