Tornado sweeps through area

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May 23, 2013 - 9:16:19 AM

WRAPPED UPA small tornado skipped across Gatlin Road and later crossed Highway 29 but never posed a threat to the City of Marlow, according to city officials. Several homes south of Marlow suffered damage and had tree branches snapped off. No injuries were reported.
The twister’s path began near Gatlin Rd and Ridge Back Rd/Scott Rd., it then skipped north and crossed Hwy 29 between Scott and Whaley Roads. At Hwy 29, a power line was damaged and caused emergency workers to halt traffic while the line was cleared.
Nearer Gatlin Road, on Ridge Back Road, the tornado damaged the same feeder line claimed by the 2010 ice storm. However, after the ice storm, nine miles of power lines and poles were repaired. Monday’s damage occurred immediately south of the 9-mile repair.
Marlow Community Service Coordinator, Jason McPherson said the fix is temporary and the city expects a scheduled power outage to permanently fix the problem. The scheduled outage will be announced later.
Residents felt the effects of the storm as power was knocked out for nearly five hours. The outage affected both Marlow and Duncan.
Public Service Company of Oklahoma (PSO) workers had power restored around 8 p.m., about an hour before city officials had announced.
According to fire chief Ryan Hall, sirens were not sounded when the tornado was spotted because an imminent threat to Marlow did not exist. He said the city did not want to “cry wolf” and cause residents to not take sirens seriously in the future.
Hall said he was proud of emergency responders’ coordination and organization when the tornado warnings were issued for the area. Responders were used as storm spotters in outlying areas and were able to track the storm making sure it did not threaten the city.
Hall said residents need to be prepared for tornadoes and one of the best ways is to have an underground storm shelter. BLOCKED
South of Marlow, at Gatlin Road and Countryside Drive, Alan Downey’s home suffered minor damage to the roof and trim around the house. However, numerous nearby trees were uprooted and had branches broken off.
“We were real fortunate, especially compared to the people up north,” he said referring to Moore tornado victims.
Across Gatlin Road on Ridge Back Road, Danny Renteria spoke of horses sheltered in a barn during the storm. In the midst of the cyclone, the barn was striped away as the horses sought shelter. Horses and family pets were not injured. The barn was demolished, as were portions of the Renteria’s roof. Corrugated tin from the barn and other structures whipped into the air or wrapped around nearby trees splintered by the winds.
As the storm approached, Renteria, his wife and one three family pets retreated to a storm shelter in the back yard. Two pets did not cooperate and join the family in the shelter.
Once Renteria heard the storm had passed, he opened the shelter’s door and came face to face with the damage caused. Tuesday morning he and his wife began cleaning up while Cotton Electric re-set a power pole in the back yard restoring electricity.
A short distance away, corrugated tin was seen tangled in a power feeder line adjacent to the Renteria’s home.
While area residents were fortunate, other communities were not. According to official reports, a large, EF-5 tornado killed 24 in Moore and injured hundreds. An EF-5 tornado is the strongest rating given and has winds exceeding 200 miles per hour.
Devastation in central Oklahoma has spurred local businesses, churches, and organizations to offer aid to others affected.
Marlow High School, the City of Marlow, Marlow Exotic Toys Motorcycle Club, Scott Family Dentistry, and Aspire Home Health are all collecting items to help those who were impacted.
Statewide, BancFirst has set up a relief fund for victims and contributions can be dropped off at any of their locations. Checks should be made payable to the Moore Ministerial Alliance, which is coordinating the effort along with the bank. All proceeds go directly to the Moore community.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced Tuesday, federal aid has been made available to the state to supplement state, tribal, and local recovery efforts.