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Oklahoma Storm Data for the Red River Valley
Tornado Outbreak of April 10, 1979

Oklahoma Storm Reports
Note: The damage estimates are based on 1979 dollars and have not been adjusted for inflation and the current year.
Date Time
LST
Length
of Path
Width
of Path
No. Of Persons Estimated Damage Character
of Storm
Killed Injured Property Crops
Introduction

Three very intense thunderstorms produced an outbreak of killer tornadoes and large hail in western north Texas and southern Oklahoma, including the Lawton area. The following reports of severe weather occurred with these storms in Oklahoma.

Location: Tillman County
4/10 3:14 pm 39 880 0 1 5 ? Tornado

A tornado developed about 6 miles east of Crowell, Texas. After striking Vernon, Texas around 3:30 pm, it moved northeast and crossed the Red River to the southwest of Davidson, Oklahoma at 3:45 pm. The tornado moved east-northeast of Davidson and dissipated around 4:00 pm. At least 3 homes were destroyed with 5 more sustaining major damage. Many cattle were killed or injured. One man was injured when his car was thrown into a ditch. The tornado was on the ground in Oklahoma for a distance of 8 miles.

Location: Tillman, Cotton, Comanche, and Stephens Counties
4/10 3:55 pm 64 1056 0 3 6 ? Tornado

The tornado first touched down in the vicinity of Harrold, Texas at about 3:55 pm. It moved northeast and crossed the Red River at about 4:10 pm. It then began to intensify and reached maximum strength at the Grandfield Airport at about 4:30 pm. It moved northeast and crossed Highway 5 west of Walters. It continued northeast and crossed US Highway 281/177 about 11 miles south of the Lawton Airport. The tornado passed through the Pumpkin Center area around 5:30 pm and moved across Oklahoma Highway 7, where it damaged homes on both sides of the highway.

This was a very wide tornado, and 55 miles of its of 64-mile path were traversed in Oklahoma. Large hail was reported with the storm. In the Grandfield area, it damaged or destroyed 8 homes and 4 mobile homes. The Grandfield Airport was demolished, with 8 planes being destroyed and 1 damaged. Near Grandfield, 1 man was seriously injured when he tried to outrun the tornado but was overtaken. Two additional injuries were reported in the area.

Northwest of Walters, 4 houses and 1 mobile home were destroyed and 4 other homes were damaged. A grain elevator was demolished on Highway 5, and another destroyed near Hulen. In the Pumpkin Center area, 5 homes and 8 mobile homes were destroyed. Some of these homes had been hit by a tornado on April 5, 1978.

Location: Hollister Area and Tillman County
4/10 4:05 pm 11 120 0 1 5 ? Tornado

The same thunderstorm activity, which generated the tornado at Davidson, moved east-northeast and produced a tornado which first touched down 1 mile south of Hollister. It continued east-northeast for approximately 11 miles before dissipating at 4:15 pm. Three houses were destroyed and others damaged. One man was injured when his home was demolished.

Location: Faxon Area and Comanche County
4/10 4:35 pm 9 100 0 3 5 ? Tornado

The tornado began about 2 miles southwest of Faxon where a mobile home was demolished and 1 woman injured. The tornado moved northeast and demolished a second mobile home where two people were seriously injured. One more mobile home and several houses were also damaged.

Location: Rogers County
4/10 Late
Afternoon
    0 0 2 0 Windstorm
& Hail

High winds destroyed some trees east of Bushyhead. Hailstones of dime size and larger occurred across the county and the ground was covered by hail north of Claremore.

Location: Lawton Area, Comanche County
4/10 5:05 pm 4 170 3 100 7 0 Tornado

The tornado touched down about a half mile north of the terminal building of the Lawton Airport. The path extended northeast to Lee Boulevard and 2nd Street where the tornado made a gentle right turn. It moved east and crossed Cache Creek north of Highway 7. From there it made a series of rather complicated left and right turns before dissipating.

Witnesses reported heavy rain and hail before the tornado hit, and a loud roar was heard by many people. One man was killed when a garage wall collapsed on him. An elderly woman died when her home was destroyed. A young child was killed when the car she was riding in was blown off the road.

A total of 449 structures received damage and 116 were destroyed. Ninety-two structures received major damage and 241 incurred minor damage. The damage total included 9 destroyed mobile homes and 3 with minor damage.

Location: Stephens, Grady, Garvin and McClain Counties
4/10 5:45 pm     0 0 0 0 Windstorm

Thunderstorm winds produced a wide path of destruction from near Marlow to near Purcell. At Marlow, widespread tree damage occurred. Two persons received minor injuries. Five homes were destroyed and 20 damaged, and 8 mobile homes were demolished. The heaviest destruction occurred in the southwest part of Marlow where the school was damaged.

Around 6:15 pm, several structures in the Lindsay area were damaged or destroyed. Damage also occurred north and west of Purcell at 6:30 pm when 2 mobile homes and several barns were destroyed. One farm house south of Rush Springs was destroyed and hail of an unknown side was reported.

Location: Waurika Area and Jefferson County
4/10 5:50 pm 47 1320 0 0 5 ? Tornado

The tornado first touched 3 miles east-northeast of Holliday, Texas and traveled northeast where it struck Wichita Falls, Texas at 6:00 pm. It crossed the Red River into Oklahoma at 6:30 pm. Over 100 trees on both sides of the river were uprooted. After crossing the river, the tornado made a gradual turn to the east-northeast and passed just to the southwest of Waurika. It then dissipated to the north-northeast of Waurika at 7:00 pm.

Heavy rain and large hail up to 3 inches in diameter were reported with the storm. The path of the tornado in Oklahoma covered 11 miles. The hardest hit area in Oklahoma was to the southwest of Waurika along Noble Wray Road. Civil Defense officials reported that approximately 20 homes were destroyed or damaged in that area. A new brick home was completely demolished. A pickup truck was lifted off the ground and smashed into a nearby car. Several mobile homes were destroyed. One frame was twisted badly and carried one quarter of a mile to the southwest of its original location.

Location: Purcell Area and McClain County
4/10 6:30 pm     0 0 4 0 Windstorm

Wind damage was reported 6.5 miles west of Purcell at Woody Chapel, where a large garage was demolished and a barn roof destroyed. At Stealy, 3.5 miles southeast of Purcell, a tool shed and other outbuildings were damaged. At Purcell, a new brick wall of a garage was destroyed. Similar damage was reported in and around the town of Washington.

Location: 6 North of Purcell in Cleveland County
4/10 6:40 pm 2 37 0 0 3 0 Tornado

A small tornado damaged 2 barns.

Location: Prague Area, Lincoln County and Pottawatomie County
4/10 6:45 pm 3 100 0 1 5 ? Tornado

A tornado touched down in Pottawatomie County about 5 miles southwest of Prague, and moved northeast to about 2 miles southwest of Prague. Two mobile homes were demolished and some damage occurred to 3 rural homes. There was one injury to a girl in a mobile home. The owner of the other mobile home heard the tornado approaching and tried to drive away in his truck, traveling northward on the east side of his mobile home. The rear end of his truck was moved westward and his mobile home was destroyed.

Location: Near Noble, Cleveland County
4/10 6:50 pm 1.5 40 0 0 4 0 Tornado

A tornado flattened a mobile home 2.5 miles east of Cemetery Road near Noble. No one was injured as the residents had gone to a storm cellar behind the home.

Location: Waurika to near Davis, OK
4/10 7:00 pm     0 0 ? ? Windstorm

Widespread wind damage occurred from near Waurika northeastward to just west of Davis.

Location: Pruitt City and Carter County
4/10 7:55 pm 16 170 0 0 5 ? Tornado

A tornado touched down about 9 miles southwest of Ringling in extreme southeastern Stephens County. It traveled north-northeast and hit Pruitt City at 8:05 pm. From there, it traveled east-northeast for 7 miles before dissipating on the Sparks Ranch east of Ratliff City at 8:20 pm. The tornado was not in continuous contact with the ground.

At Pruitt City, Red Cross officials reported 44 homes damaged or destroyed. This included about a dozen mobile homes. About 5 or 6 cars were damaged. One pickup was lifted off the ground and crashed into an overturned car. A large bus was overturned on its roof.

Location: Lawton, Comanche County
4/10 8:00 pm             Funnel Cloud

Observed at the Lawton Airport

Location: Maud Area, Pottawatomie County and Seminole County
4/10 8:05 pm short narrow 0 0 3 0 2 Tornadoes
& Hail

A police officer observed two small tornadoes touch the ground at about the same time. One of the tornadoes was located north of Maud and the other was located west of Maud. Hail knocked out windows at two business establishments.

Location: Seminole Area, Seminole County
4/10 8:10 pm     0 0 3 0 Hail &
Wind

Golf ball size hail and winds of 58 mph occurred in the area. At the airport, two planes were damaged. West of Seminole, hail broke two windows out of a house and damaged its roof. The high winds also destroyed two storage buildings.

Location: Garvin County
4/10 8:50 pm             Funnel
Clouds

Numerous funnel clouds were reported as follows: Over Wynnewood at 8:50 pm; 3 funnels west of Whitehead Community at 9:00 pm; a funnel cloud 6 miles southwest of Pauls Valley at 9:01 pm; and a funnel west of Antioch Community at 9:14 pm. While any of these funnels may have touched down briefly, no damage reports were available to confirm any touchdowns.

Location: Haskell, Muskogee County
4/10 9:30 pm     0 0 ? ? Hail

Hail up 1.5 inches in diameter.

Location: Garvin and McClain Counties
4/10 9:45 pm     0 0 4 ? Windstorm

Strong winds destroyed mobile homes northwest and northeast of Elmore City. Hail with diameters up to 1.5 inches also fell at these locations. A large hail path continued from Elmore City to past Pauls Valley. Many places received hail up to 2 inches in diameter with hail hitting Stratford and Byars at 9:50 pm.

Location: Garvin, McClain and Cleveland Counties
4/10 9:45 pm     0 0 4 ? Windstorm

Wind damage occurred near Maysville around 9:45 pm. Thunderstorms moved northeast and heavily damaged a barn and a house at Wayne at 10:10 pm. At 10:30 pm, the storms destroyed a mile length of power lines and a barn 10 miles east of Lexington.



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