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The June 13, 1998 Oklahoma City Tornadoes

Summary of Events on June 13, 1998
(Excerpts from June 1998 Storm Data)

During the afternoon and evening four supercell thunderstorms developed near a dryline in western Oklahoma and tracked east into central sections of the state. The most significant storm (Storm B) developed in Washita county at approximately 400 pm CST and intensified as it moved east toward central Oklahoma. This storm produced seven tornadoes as it tracked from Canadian County across Oklahoma County during the early evening.

The most damaging tornado (an F2) touched down in northeast Oklahoma City and crossed Interstate 35 near the Frontier City theme park. Other tornadoes damaged the Oklahoma City Boat Club, portions of The Village and Nichols Hills, the Highland Park neighborhood west of Broadway Extension, and the area near May and Grand Avenues in Oklahoma City.

Three weak tornadoes also touched down in open country northwest of El Reno and near Yukon. In addition to damaging tornadoes, the storm produced extensive straight-line wind damage from Lake Hefner, across Nichols Hills and The Village, into northeast Oklahoma County. Winds likely exceeded 100 mph in some areas.

There were no fatalities and only 21 relatively minor injuries reported in Oklahoma County. The majority of the injuries were sustained at the Frontier City theme park. Earlier, another supercell thunderstorm (Storm A) produced tornadoes near Longdale in Blaine County and 3 miles southwest of Guthrie. Supercells that tracked across Noble County and northern Cleveland County produced large hail and severe winds, but no tornadoes.

List of tornadoes which occurred in
central and western Oklahoma on 6/13/1998:

ID Time Location Intensity County
A1 445 pm 1 W Longdale F0 Blaine
A2 643-646 pm 3 SW Guthrie F1 Logan
B1 715 pm 5 WNW El Reno F0 Canadian
B2 717-722 pm 4 NW El Reno F0 Canadian
B3 745 pm 2 WNW Yukon F0 Canadian
B4 802-803 pm Lake Hefner F1 Oklahoma
B5 807-808 pm North Oklahoma City F1 Oklahoma
B6 808-811 pm NW OKC/Nichols Hills F2 Oklahoma
B7 812-823 pm Northeast OKC (Frontier City) F2 Oklahoma

Storm A Tornadoes

The Blaine County Sheriff reported a brief tornado (A1) 1 mile west of Longdale, OK. One child was injured with extent of injuries unknown. Several trees were also damaged and the tornado was rated F0.

Tornado A2 touched down about 3 miles southwest of Guthrie. Two houses suffered shingle and siding damage. A third house sustained broken windows, a damaged roof, and a broken porch post. A barn was unroofed, an outbuilding was destroyed, numerous fences were broken and a hood was torn off an old pick-up truck. The tornado was rated an F1.

Canadian County Tornadoes (Storm B)

Three weak tornadoes (B1-B3) also touched down in open country northwest of El Reno and near Yukon. Tornado B1 touched down briefly in open country 5 miles west-northwest of El Reno, OK. No damage was reported and the tornado was rated F0. Tornado B2 touched down in open country 4 miles northwest of El Reno, OK. No damage was reported and the tornado was rated F0. Tornado B3 was observed briefly touching down 2 miles west-northwest of Yukon, OK by a storm chaser. The tornado touched down an open field with no known damage.

Map of Tornadoes in the
Immediate Oklahoma City Area:

Please select map image to enlarge it.

Large Map

Oklahoma City Tornadoes (Storm B)

Lake Hefner Tornado (B4)

Time: 802-803 PM CDT

Intensity: F1 (winds 73-112 mph)

Length: 3/4 of a mile. Width: ~50 yards.

Track: Tornado B4 touched down as a waterspout over Lake Hefner and moved east to dissipate between May Avenue and Lake Hefner Parkway. Total path length was approximately 3/4 mile and its width was approximately 50 yards.

Damage: Numerous boats in dry dock suffered damage at the Oklahoma City Boat Club as the tornado passed slightly south of the marina. Boats that were in the water suffered little, if any, damage. Damage to the OKC Boat Club facilities and nearby boats was estimated at $250,000. Traffic signs along the east shore of the lake were bent and a small storage shed was destroyed approximately 1/8 mile south of the OKC Boat Club. Minor roof damage occurred to homes immediately east of Lake Hefner Parkway.

Boats at the Oklahoma City Boat club Numerous boats damaged

North OKC Tornado (B5)

Time: 807-808 PM CDT

Intensity: F1 (winds 73-112 mph)

Length: 3/4 of a mile. Width: ~50 yards

Track: Tornado B5 formed near NW 84th Street and Walker and traveled northeast until dissipating immediately east of the Broadway Extension 1/4 mile south of Britton Road. Total path length was 3/4 mile. Path width approximately 50 yards. This tornado was rated F1(73-112 mph).

Damage: Along the damage path, a large portion of the roof decking was removed from a home on the southeast corner of 84th and Walker. Street signs also were torn from the ground (not well anchored) at this location. Several vehicles were damaged by flying debris.

Minor roof damage occurred to other homes on 84th, 85th, and 86th Streets. On 87th and 88th Streets near Harvey, several homes suffered major roof damage and the western one-half of the New Life Baptist Church was destroyed. A portion of the church roof was thrown southeastward across 88th causing major damage to a home. Failure of the north, west and south walls of the church occurred as the roof lifted off.

Wall of church downed Church damage Roof of church that damaged a nearby house

NW OKC-Nichols Hills Tornado (B6)

Time: 808-811 PM CDT

Intensity: F2 (winds 113-157 mph)

Length:1.5 miles. Width: 75 yards.

Injuries: 4

Track: Tornado B6 touched down 1 block west of north May Avenue and Pembroke Terrace and moved east to Woods Park in Nichols Hills. Total path length was 1.5 miles and maximum width was 75 yards. This tornado was rated F2 (113-157 mph). Four persons were injured and transported to local hospitals.

Damage: Considerable damage was done to the strip mall in the 7400 block of north May Avenue. Windows were blown out of several businesses, several lost roofs, power lines were downed and large signs were bent. One business on the east side of May Ave. suffered collapse of an exterior south-facing wall. On Pembroke Terrace, an RV was thrown into a house, a car was over-turned, trees were toppled, and shingles and roof decking were partially blown away.

Lesser damage occurred eastward into Nichols Hills. Interestingly, this tornado rotated anticyclonically. Although the over-turned car and major damage to one wood frame house roof suggested the tornado may have reached F2 intensity in a very small area, the majority of the damage was consistent with an F1 rating.

Other information: This tornado was anticyclonic (rotating clockwise).

Shops damaged at the Lakeside shopping center Large business sign downed Overturned car on Penbroke Terrace
   
Overturned R.V. on Penbroke Terrace    

NE Oklahoma City/Frontier City Tornado (B7)

Time: 812-823 PM CDT

Intensity: F2 (winds 113-157 mph)

Length: 5.5 miles. Maximum width: 200 yards.

Injuries:17

Track: Tornado B7 was the most intense of the day. Touched down about 1/4 mile southwest of the intersection of Bryant Avenue and Hefner Road. It moved northeast crossing Interstate 35 at the Frontier City Amusement Park parking lot then continued northeast along NE 122nd Street, and finally dissipated 1/4 mile northeast of Interstate 44 and Douglas Blvd.

The total path length was approximately 5 1/2 miles. Maximum width was 200 yards east of Interstate 35 and south of Interstate 44. The tornado was rated F2 (At 122nd Street approximately 1-2 miles east of I-35). Seventeen minor injuries (3 transported to hospital) occurred at Frontier City.

Damage: Along the track, major structural damage occurred to businesses along Interstate 35 from 122nd Street southward for approximately three-quarters of a mile. The Frontier City theme park was among the hardest hit businesses. The tornado passed through the parking lot damaging numerous vehicles before striking a two-story concrete block building at the northeast corner of the park. This building suffered partial failure of external walls and the entire roof was removed. Damage to adjacent areas of the park was mainly due to strong inflow into the tornado.

On the east side of Interstate 35, a Texaco truck stop was severely damaged. Empty semi-tractor trailers located in the east parking lot of the truck stop were over turned and rolled tens of feet. One trailer was briefly airborne and landed on another empty trailer. A small portable building containing a CB radio shop in the parking area was completely swept away into a grove of trees east of the lot.

Numerous homes suffered major damage to roofs, windows, and garage doors in the Nottingham and Quail Ridge Run subdivisions located along 122nd Street 1-2 miles east of I35. Several homes suffered major or nearly complete roof failure, though most exterior walls remained intact. These homes were of recent construction and were well built with brick exterior facades (some likely in excess of $200K). No means of anchoring the roofs to the exterior walls was noted. The tornado may have approached F3 at times in these neighborhoods.

The most severely damaged home was located atop a small hill with garage doors on the upwind side of the home. Debris patterns suggest the garage doors failed allowing the wind to lift the roof. Without the roof in place, failure of the external garage walls occurred. The most severe damage to trees occurred in these subdivisions and areas immediately adjacent.

Tree snapped near "Terrible Twister" ride at Frontier City Damage at Frontier City Air conditioner unit blown off roof at Frontier City
Damage at Morgan Bootstore Semi overturned Roof damage
House damage House damage Neighborhood damage
House damage House damage House damage

Rear Flank Downdraft and Mesocyclone Winds

Track: In addition to the tornadoes, strong thunderstorm winds associated with the mesocyclone and rear flank downdrafts produced extensive straight-line wind damage as the storm tracked across Oklahoma County. The damage occurred from Lake Hefner east across southern sections of The Village and northern sections of Nichols Hills, then northeast across northern Oklahoma City, crossing Interstate 35 in the vicinity of Hefner Rd and 122nd Street.

The damage path then narrowed about 1 mile southwest of I35, from approximately 1-2 miles wide to near 3/4 mile wide. The damage path dissipated over extreme southeast Edmond. Estimated path length was 16 miles. Maximum width was 2 miles at points between Lake Hefner and the Broadway Extension.

Damage: Winds of 105 MPH were measured at Lake Hefner by a media Chaser. Widespread damage to power lines (40,000 customers of OG&E), trees, roofs, antennas, signs, and windows occurred. The WKY broadcast tower, designed to withstand 125 mph winds, was toppled in the area between Kelly and Broadway Ext., and just south of Britton Rd.

WKY Radio tower Street sign downed

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