A major tornado outbreak occurred across western Oklahoma during the afternoon and early evening of October 9th, 2001. Five supercell thunderstorms produced a total of 19 confirmed tornadoes. Three of the tornadoes were rated F3, making this the strongest tornado outbreak in Oklahoma for the month of October, and the most significant Oklahoma tornado outbreak since May 3, 1999. A brief review of the strongest tornadoes during the event follows.
The first F3 tornado developed in northeast Beckham County, on the northeast edge of Elk City, and tracked northeastward for 11 miles before dissipating. As the tornado entered Custer County, a home comprised of wood frames with a brick exterior had most of its interior and exterior walls destroyed. The tornado then continued across an unpopulated area, causing major damage to trees and fences, before dissipating 2.5 miles west of Foss Dam.
The second F3 tornado developed in Washita County, near Cordell. The Oklahoma State Emergency Management Office estimated that 477 single-family homes were damaged, 132 considered uninhabitable. In addition, 40 businesses were damaged, 22 considered uninhabitable. Damage was estimated near $1 million, and nine injuries were reported.
The last F3 tornado developed in Kiowa County and produced F3 damage soon after entering Washita County. Several vehicles and large pieces of farm equipment were tossed and destroyed. About 4 miles north-northeast of Mountain View, 3 homes suffered major damage, with one home incurring damage rated at F3. As the tornado continued northeastward, more F3 damage was inflicted on a farm, where a house and several barns and outbuildings were leveled. A 10,000 gallon diesel tank ended up in an open field about one-quarter mile away from its original position.
This tornado outbreak took place just a little over 3 years after the largest October tornado outbreak for the state and the nation occurred on October 4, 1998, when 27 tornadoes hit parts of central and eastern Oklahoma.