The Edmond Sun

May 19, 2013

UPDATE: Tornado touches portions of Edmond

No major injuries reported

By James Coburn and Mark Schlachtenhaufen
The Edmond Sun

EDMOND — Roger Williams and his wife Shellie, residents in Edmond’s Thornbrooke neighborhood since 2004, were watching the weather reports Sunday as a large storm approached the city.

When they heard reports that a tornado was spotted near Broadway and 15th Street, then Broadway and 33rd Street, the couple and their son Ethan, 11, took cover in a reinforced interior closet. After they closed the door it got eerily quiet, like being in the eye of a hurricane, Roger said. As the tornado passed by, they could hear a few bangs outside.

“I was kind of scared,” Ethan said.

When the family emerged, they saw a bit of shingle and tree damage. Nearby, the winds were strong enough to blow a brick fence down. Trees snapped in two. Elsewhere, power lines and poles were leaning. One home in the addition suffered significant roof damage.

Elsewhere, where the tornado crossed I-35, Mercy’s soon-to-be-opened Edmond medical campus suffered exterior damage. There was also damage to various items, including signage, a flagpole and electrical infrastructure.

“There is roof damage  and damage to a large section of windows going across the front,” said Rachel Wright, Mercy spokesperson. “There’s flagpoles down and billboards down. The good thing is it is still under construction but nobody was here.”

Police spokeswoman Jenny Monroe said two crashes in Edmond occurred during the storm, including one on Second Street near OU Medical Center-Edmond. Two were transported due to the crashes to area hospitals, Monroe said.

“We have two patients here in our emergency room, but none of them are serious,” said Leslie Buford, spokeswoman for OU Medical Center-Edmond, which is at Second and Bryant.

Integris Edmond, which is at I-35 and 15th Street, reported a power outage at its medical office facility Sunday afternoon. Two patients were treated and released with minor injuries at the Integris Edmond emergency department.

Lights were out at several intersections and Edmond Electric was addressing the issues as quickly as it could, Monroe said. About 2,800 remained without power as of 7:40 p.m., according to Edmond Electric’s online power outage map. By 8:30 p.m., that number had dropped to just more than 500 without power. Most of the outages are being reported out of the Hafer substation near Hafer Park at Ninth and Bryant.

At about 3:47 p.m., outdoor warning sirens began to blow in east Edmond. Monroe said point of contact for the tornado appeared to be in the 33rd and Bryant area. From there, the path goes to the northeast and crosses I-35, Monroe said. Some roof damage also occurred in The Territories addition east of I-35.

The tornado headed east to Arcadia Lake where it dissipated and reformed on the ground into a multiple vortex into the Luther area, according to reports.

Monroe said the Edmond Police Department wants non-residents to stay out  of the Thornbrooke and The Territories neighborhoods.

“These people need time to clean up the damage and figure out what they’re going to do,” she said.

Monroe also urged residents with roof damage to be sure they’re dealing with a reputable roofing company.

Tornadoes continued to plague the state Sunday evening, with damage reported in the Luther and Wellston areas as well as tornadoes sighted in Norman and Shawnee. The National Weather Service in Norman forecasts the possibility of more strong to severe thunderstorms possible Monday and Tuesday, mainly across the eastern two-thirds of Oklahoma.