Finger on the Weather

Oklahoma boy survives in only spot not flattened by massive tornado

The wedge tornado that passed north of Sulphur, Okla., on Monday. It was as much as a mile wide, according to the National Weather Service.
The wedge tornado that passed north of Sulphur, Okla., on Monday. It was as much as a mile wide, according to the National Weather Service. Courtesy photo

Monday brought a fresh reminder of how dangerous tornadoes can be.

More than two dozen tornadoes were reported in six states, including a brief tornado in northern Kansas. A few of the tornadoes were strong, including this one near Wynnewood, Okla. Storm chasers Dick McGowan and Darin Brunin shot this dramatic video of the tornado, which was initially rated EF-3 but has since been upgraded to an EF-4.

No one was home when this farmstead was hit, McGowan said, but others were not as fortunate. A 76-year-old man was killed near Wynnewood by this tornado and a second 76-year-old man died in a tornado in southeast Oklahoma.

The Wynnewood tornado had wind speeds of up to 175 miles an hour on its path, which stretched for nine miles, according to the Norman branch of the National Weather Service.

A tornado that developed north of Sulphur grew to as much as a mile wide at times, according to the weather service. A mobile Doppler unit measured winds about 56 feet above the ground at 216 miles an hour, which would give the tornado an EF-5 rating on the Enhanced Fujita Scale.

But the Fujita Scale ratings are based on damage, and surveyors were only able to find damage consistent with an EF-3 tornado with wind speeds of up to 165 miles an hour — just short of being rated an EF-4.

One boy survived the Sulphur tornado by taking refuge in a small, interior room of his home away from windows and outer walls – precisely what weather officials preach if you’re in a dwelling with no basement. The tornado leveled everything except a portion of the corner in the bathroom where the boy was, and he walked away without a scratch.

At least two people died as a result of tornadoes that destroyed homes and overturned vehicles in Oklahoma on May 9, 2016. A strong series of storms hit across the Plains. The National Weather Service said a tornado briefly touched down on the so

Stan Finger: 316-268-6437, @StanFinger

  Comments