Tornadoes roll through the state, cause widespread damage and injuries.

Seven tornadoes tore through a handful of Oklahoma towns, including Norman.

Storms from the Texas panhandle wreaked havoc on Norman, OK, causing significant damage to approximately 80 homes this past week. Wind gusts of nearly 90 mph accompanied the tornado, making the series of tornadoes that touched down in Norman all the more dangerous. Norman Regional Hospital treated 12 victims — all of whom received non-life-threatening injuries.

Norman Chief of Police Kevin Foster gave a statement in the aftermath of the twisters. He said, “We have several homes, businesses and schools that appear to have some damage from the storm. With the light this morning, we have drones up helping us assess damage. Just want everyone to know just in case you see or hear them. That’s us surveying the damage with those drones.” He also said that it didn’t appear that anyone was missing or unaccounted for after the vortex swept through the area. Foster contacted the state for assistance to “supply everything we need.” The Red Cross has been assisting victims as they navigate applications for federal disaster relief funds.

One of these spin-ups made its way toward the University of Oklahoma’s campus. Taylor Martinez, a senior at OU, didn’t have enough time to take cover at the campus storm shelter at the National Weather Center. Martinez lives just right off campus — about five minutes away from the shelter. She took shelter in her bathroom, covering herself with her mattress. She describes the experience: “The winds were blowing so hard. I could hear my windows rattling and my building shaking.”

Martinez believes that her apartment complex was in the direct path of the storm. The building received a devastating amount of damage as portions of the siding were torn off, along with the roof to the stairwell. She said, “The complex is also covered in insulation brought in by the tornado from other damaged houses, which we thought was snow originally since it was hailing…Now the entire complex is completely covered in dry insulation.”

Her apartment complex sent an email assuring residents that it wouldn’t be dangerous to inhale the insulation, though Martinez has opted to wear a mask until it’s cleared. Martinez also talked about the struggle some neighbors were having in regards to leaving their apartments as debris and powerlines blocked paths.

But the damage didn’t stop in Norman. As the night wore on, other parts of Oklahoma were subjected to the same treatment. The National Weather Service confirmed that seven tornadoes swept through the areas of Cheyenne, Shawnee, Mustang, Minco, Hobart and Hollis.

The town of Cheyenne (Rogers County) reported a single fatality after the weather event, though no additional details are available at this time. The Oklahoma Department of Health confirmed 55 injuries in total (including the 12 injured from Norman) across the state.

Currently, various teams are on-site all over the state as damage assessments and cleaning crews try to restore the cities affected. The Oklahoma Department of Health will continue to update their numbers of those affected as information continues to roll in. As of today, reports of injuries are still being updated.

Post Author: Madison Walters