OKLAHOMA CITY – Fierce thunderstorms with strong winds tore through Oklahoma on Friday, killing a truck driver and a family whose mobile home was flipped into a creek.
One storm rolled in so fast, a couple in Nowata County had no time to reach a storm shelter on their property before wind picked up their mobile home, carried it about 100 yards and dropped the wreckage into a creek, sheriff’s Deputy Rick Harper said Saturday. The mobile home “basically disintegrated,” he said, and the couple and their infant grandchild were killed. Their bodies were found in the water after a two-hour search.
A Missouri truck driver also was killed when wind flipped his semi onto a cement barrier wall, trapping him inside for nearly three hours near Afton in Ottawa County, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol reported. Jimmy King, 70, of Ash Grove, Mo., died at the scene of massive injuries, troopers said.
The storms erupted Friday as a storm system and cold front collided with triple-digit heat across the state. Temperatures ranged from 94 degrees to 107 degrees, and the high of 106 set a record in Oklahoma City. Then, in just an hour at Tulsa International Airport, the temperature dropped from 101 degrees to 78 degrees.
The sudden change was accompanied by strong winds. Anemometers recorded a wind gust of 61 mph in Nowata County and a 63-mph gust was reported at Miami in Ottawa County.
“There was no strong signal on radar to indicate there was a tornado, so we’re assuming they were straight-line winds,” National Weather Service meteorologist Pete Snyder said of storms in those areas. “But there are times when, along a front like that one, a spin-up can occur.”