Tornado hits Norman; damage, minor injuries reported
BY DAVID HARPER AND JERRY WOFFORD World Staff Writers NewsOK.com
Friday, April 13, 2012
4/14/12 at 12:18 PM
A tornado touched down Friday in Norman, causing damage and minor injuries, while the state faced the possibility of more severe weather on Saturday.
The Norman Emergency Management Agency reported damage to City Hall, some businesses, homes and an apartment complex as well as to power lines and power poles.
Kelly Wells, Norman Regional Health System spokeswoman, said ambulances brought in about 10 people with minor injuries, such as bruises and scrapes. One injury was reported from someone who was in a vehicle.
The tornado ripped roofs off a convenience store and some apartments near Lindsey Street and 24th Avenue Southwest, which is just east of Interstate 35, and left a three-quarter-mile stretch of downed power lines.
More than 9,700 power outages in the Norman and Oklahoma City areas occurred due to the storm, according to the Oklahoma Corporation Commission.
Alex Gardner said he was on his way to work when he stopped at the Sonic Drive-In just east of 24th Avenue Southwest on Lindsey.
“About 200 yards to my right, there was a cloud that was really low, and then all of a sudden things were flying right and left,” Gardner said. “It literally happened so fast, I was shaking.”
Roofs were torn from at least three buildings at the West Oak Apartments, as well as a convenience store.
The University of Oklahoma campus was not affected, OU spokeswoman Catherine Bishop said.
Other severe storms were reported in the state on Friday, and forecasters warned of another possible outbreak late Saturday, with hail and tornadoes a threat for much of central and northern Oklahoma.
A rare “high risk” of severe storms was issued by the National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center in Norman more than a day and a half ahead of the potential storms.
The high risk area for Saturday extended along Interstate 35 from Oklahoma City to Interstate 70 in Kansas.
The Storm Prediction Center’s forecast for Saturday said atmospheric conditions “should produce an environment favorable for a tornado outbreak” and that the high risk advisory was issued “due to the potential for a high-end life threatening event across the southern and central plains.”
The last time a high-risk area was issued a day before an anticipated outbreak was March 2, 2011, when subsequent storms produced 65 confirmed tornadoes and 40 deaths in Alabama, Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio.
Tulsa’s forecast calls for only a 30 percent chance of storms during the day Saturday, increasing to a 70 percent chance Saturday night, with a chance that some of the storms could be severe. Thunderstorms are also likely Sunday, with a 70 percent chance during the day.
However, Tulsa’s Sunday forecast does not mention the possibility of severe weather.
National Weather Service meteorologist Bart Haake said that after about 6 a.m. Sunday, the chances of severe weather will begin decreasing, with only a 20 percent chance of thunderstorms in the Tulsa area by Sunday night.
Monday’s forecast contains no mention of rain and predicts a high temperature near 70 degrees.
The Oklahoman contributed to this story.
Read more about the damage at newsok.com
Tornado damage in Norman. Photo by Steve Sisney/The Oklahoman