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Deadly Tornado Strikes Barnsdall, Oklahoma Leaving Devastation in Its Wake

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Residents in communities across the central U.S. are once again sifting through the debris of destroyed homes and businesses after severe weather and tornadoes ripped across the region from Monday night into Tuesday morning, leaving at least one person dead and causing catastrophic damage in a city north of Tulsa in Oklahoma.

Barnsdall, Oklahoma – One person has died after a devastating tornado destroyed homes and toppled power lines as it ripped through a small town northeast of Tulsa on Monday evening. The National Weather Service reported that Barnsdall, a town of about 1,000 people located a 40-minute drive north of Tulsa, was leveled shortly after 9:30 p.m. A storm survey team found damage Tuesday that is consistent with at least an EF-4 strength tornado on the Enhanced Fujita scale. It was the second tornado to hit the town in five weeks.

“It just hit all of a sudden,” said Joy King, who felt pressure in her ears, which intensified into a loud noise. The storm cellar door she was hiding in then blew open, and debris started to fly everywhere. “I even had it latched to a bolt in the floor, and it just ripped it off.” Joy King huddled in a corner with her little dog for about 30 minutes.

Mayor Johnny Kelley said the tornado caused one fatality and up to eight injuries in Barnsdall. The Tulsa Fire Department said it is conducting a daylight search for one, possibly two, missing persons. Thankfully, there was a high level of weather awareness.Kelley said the town’s electrical system has been severely impacted, and the main water distribution line has been destroyed.Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt will travel to Barnsdall on Tuesday afternoon as he directs resources to aid recovery.

A Tornado Emergency, the most dire of tornado alerts, was issued for Osage County in Oklahoma on Monday evening as the storm approached. The NWS referred to a “large and destructive tornado” moving toward Barnsdall and causing catastrophic damage.

Osage County Emergency Management Director Jerry Roberts told FOX Weather that Oklahoma Task Force 1 Tulsa, along with the Oklahoma Highway Patrol and crews from numerous jurisdictions, arrived in Barnsdall overnight to aid in the search for survivors.”Right now, we have a big area of total destruction,” Roberts added.

According to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, as many as 40 homes were damaged in the Barnsdall area. Multiple reports of natural gas leaks and debris in roadways led to the closure of numerous roads.The Barnsdall Nursing Home took a direct hit from the tornado on the southwestern side of town.

“Please pray for us,” the Nursing Home stated in a Facebook post, stressing all residents were accounted for with no injuries. “They all have been transported to football field house due to gas leak that could not be turned off by emergency personnel… it is chaos in town.” The Tornado Emergency for Barnsdall was just the second one ever issued by the NWS in Tulsa, and one of 13 Tornado Warnings issued by that office on Monday. It was the first tornado to make a direct hit on Barnsdall since 2008. Tags

Rachel Adams

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