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Watch now: Possible tornado leaves damage in east Tulsa and Catoosa
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Watch now: Possible tornado leaves damage in east Tulsa and Catoosa

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A possible tornado caused chaos across the Tulsa area Wednesday night in a storm that earlier in the day had only a “limited tornado threat.”

The National Weather Service issued the first tornado warning at 7:19 p.m. — with no previous tornado watch in effect — and within minutes of the warning said a tornado was on the ground three miles southwest of Catoosa moving at 50 mph.

Tulsa first responders rescued a woman from her home near 15th Street and Garnett Road after the storm caused her roof to collapse, leaving her trapped inside.

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Lights from emergency response vehicles cast a red glow as firefighters cover a hole in a roof with plywood after Wednesday night's storm caused the damage in the 11000 block of East 14th Court, near Garnett Road. A woman reportedly was trapped in the house for a time but was not injured.

No injuries were reported there, although the storm did take out several large trees around the property. A local storm report posted at 7:21 p.m. by National Weather Service Tulsa indicates the area around her home was a possible tornado path.

A construction fence at East Central High School’s field house partially collapsed, and branches, trash cans and small debris littered streets in east Tulsa after the storm.

The National Weather Service confirmed a tornado on the ground near Catoosa at 7:26 p.m.

The Catoosa Public Schools Board of Education was in executive session during a special meeting to discuss the hiring of a new superintendent when the tornado warning was issued, prompting attendees to take cover.

The meeting adjourned early with no action taken.

As the storm left Tulsa, it continued northeast into Rogers and Wagoner counties, then into Mayes and Delaware counties before the tornado threat was lifted about 9 p.m.

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A downed tree shuts down the southbound lane of Riverside Drive near 41st Street after a severe storm hit the Tulsa area on Wednesday evening.

Before the storm, forecasters at the National Weather Service in Tulsa had focused their predictions Wednesday afternoon primarily on southeastern Oklahoma, saying a couple of storms with “at least limited tornado threat” could develop there as a front moved through Oklahoma.

“Although the overall tornado threat is limited, the potential for a tornado or two will exist for a short time early this evening across southeast Oklahoma,” forecasters said.

The Tulsa area and northeastern Oklahoma were forecast for only a severe hail threat and rainfall of about 1.25 inches.

Multiple downed power lines were reported as strong straight-line winds also battered the area Wednesday night.

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A broken tree lies in a driveway in the 11000 block of East 14th Court, near Garnett Road, after a severe storm hit the Tulsa area on Wednesday.

More than 7,000 PSO customers were without power at one point, and as of 9:30 p.m., 4,500 customers were still without power, according to PSO’s outage map. As of Thursday morning, nearly 1,800 remained without power, mostly in east Tulsa.

The largest outages were reported in east Tulsa between 129th East Avenue and 145th East Avenue along 31st Street and along Interstate 44 from west Tulsa to U.S. 169. The estimated restoration time is 1 p.m. Thursday, according to PSO.

As crews work to restore power in the area, 31st Street is closed near 136th East Avenue early Thursday. According to workers, as many as five power poles in the area were blown down by the storm. 

Joe Lovelace, a man who lives in the area, said Thursday he was watching the storm from his home when the transformers blew and the poles fell.

“The wind was blowing and the leaves — it looked like a tornado right at the front door,” he said.

Lovelace said shortly after, a car whipped off the road and pulled up to him. It was a Hispanic family seeking shelter.

He said the man and woman, who held a baby, used a translating app to tell him one of the poles almost fell on their vehicle. They stood inside with him for a while before determining they could head out safely.

Lovelace said the power lines fell mostly on the eastbound lanes of the road, so cars were still traveling westbound.

National Weather Service Tulsa storm reports include a grain silo that flipped on its side near 31st Street and County Line Road.

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A man walking his dog surveys tree damage at Woodward Park in midtown Tulsa early Thursday.

Kelsy Schlotthauer contributed to this story.


 

Lenzy Krehbiel-Burton contributed to this story.

jacob.factor@

tulsaworld.com

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