Deadly Oklahoma Tornado Traveled about 31 Miles

April 18, 2012

A tornado that killed six people in northwestern Oklahoma traveled about 31 miles and had winds of 136 to 165 mph at its peak.

The National Weather Service on April 16 assigned a preliminary EF-3 Enhanced Fujita scale rating to the storm after conducting damage surveys.

Forecasters say the tornado developed about 11:50 p.m. on April 14 near Arnett in Ellis County and damaged six structures.

Once the storm reached neighboring Woodward County, it downed trees and power lines before hitting two mobile homes and killing three people.

When it crossed into southwest Woodward, the storm damaged homes and businesses as it tracked to the northeast. In northern Woodward, three people were killed when the tornado struck a mobile home park.

The tornado exited Woodward about 12:23 a.m. and dissipated at 12:27 a.m.

Forecasters say about 75 tornadoes touched down in four Great Plains states during the outbreak of severe storms that swept the Midwest.

Greg Carbin is a meteorologist at the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla. He said on April 17 that most of the tornadoes were in Kansas, followed by Oklahoma, Iowa and Nebraska. The tornadoes hit during a 24-hour period from 7 a.m. Saturday to 7 a.m. Sunday after forecasters warned of a “high risk” of severe weather.

At least six deaths were blamed on a storm that went through the northwest Oklahoma town of Woodward and destroyed more than 100 homes and businesses.

Many tornadoes hit in unpopulated rural areas in Kansas and Oklahoma, and Carbin says researchers are still collecting data.

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