A powerful storm system that stretched from Texas to Minnesota wreaked havoc in southwestern Oklahoma in mid May 2015. This dangerous weather brought tornadoes near Elmer and Tipton. In addition, a tornado touched down northeast of Tulsa and large hailstones the size of baseballs was reported.
The Oklahoma Secretary of State declared a State of Emergency for 44 counties by Executive Order and may add more. The storms caused three fatalities and nine injuries. In Wagoner County, more than 120 homes were damaged on May 16 – four were completely destroyed.
These severe weather threats led to the activation of the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management (OEM) and its subsequent contact with emergency managers across the state from agencies that included the:
- Oklahoma Office of Homeland Security
- Oklahoma Highway Patrol
- Oklahoma National Guard
- National Weather Service
- US Army Corps of Engineers
- Salvation Army
- American Red Cross
- Civil Air Patrol
The spokeswoman for the OEM warned of isolated flooding on May 17 with the ground already saturated from heavy rain. A number of major highways were affected by high water, and the Oklahoma Department of Transportation cautioned drivers to heed warning signs and not drive around barricades or into water.
Southeast Oklahoma City neighborhoods around South 44th St. and I-35 were particularly hard hit.
The combined efforts of these emergency management specialists, law enforcement officers, federal agencies, and non-governmental organizations should help the residents of Oklahoma to better weather these horrific storms.
Residents can request help with debris removal, minor roof tarping, and minor repairs through www.servemore.com, a collaboration of local churches.