Tornadoes, derecho winds tear up communities, leave 1 dead

by Toni Hopper

Marlow Safe! Duncan residents cleaning up, some wait for power to be restored

Tornado sirens sounded in multiple communities Sunday night in Oklahoma, including Duncan. As of Tuesday, the National Weather Service in Norman confirmed five tornadoes and is still investigating reports. One of those tornadoes had a 26-mile path through Norman, and another in Cheyenne in western Oklahoma left one person dead. Both were rated as EF-2.

Originally, Oklahomans were warned about the derecho winds and anticipated 80-110 mile-per-hour winds. Marlow residents were lucky to escape the direct damage path of the storm. Duncan was not. As of Tuesday evening, several businesses and residents in Duncan remained without power and debris cleanup was still ongoing.

Duncan was hardest hit downtown in its historic Main Street district and surrounding neighborhoods. Multiple out-of-area utility trucks, identified only by the Fusion Power logo on the doors, were staged near the county courthouse, a block off Main Street, but several workers refused to comment, indicating they had been briefed to not answer questions.

Duncan Power requested and is receiving assistance from the Oklahoma Municipal Power Authority, which provides mutual aid and contracted crews to the city until repairs and pole replacements are completed. This effort will restore residential and commercial customers.

The City of Duncan’s official Facebook page remains active with updates for its community regarding the progress of power restoration. Earlier Tuesday, they noted that the derecho storm’s impact caused a large swath of outages mainly affecting an area from Bois D’Arc to Stephens Street, Chestnut Ave., and 27th to 2nd Streets. Debris from the storm on the ground and in alleys has made it difficult for crew access, as it must first be cleared.

There were more than 20 reported damaged and broken power poles, with 11 replaced by noon Tuesday. Yet more reports of damaged poles keep that number fluctuating as debris is cleared.

Besides power poles, roofs were torn off buildings, including portions of First Baptist Church, located at 901 Ash Ave. A quick drive through the downtown district revealed a portion of the steel fence surrounding the historic W.T. Foreman Prairie House, 814 W. Oak Ave. (one block south of the church) was leaning on the ground. Street lights and signs were shattered at 10th and Walnut, and the Stripes convenience store on Bois D’Arc on Duncan’s south side lost its fuel station canopy. Cordell Studio which is now home to a bakery, on 10th Street, just one block south of Main, also had damage.

It is expected that it will be late Thursday before all debris is cleared off the roads and drainage areas. Marlow reported one power outage in Sunday’s storms.

Red Cross in Oklahoma is overwhelmed with requests for assistance for those who have been displaced by Sunday’s storms. Priority for assistance is going to those who have lost their entire homes in other areas of Oklahoma.

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