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Newspaper Accounts

Media Accounts

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A Message from Dick Elder, NWS Wichita

Suzanne M. Fortin - Perspectives from a New NWS Forecaster

Dr. Keith Ballard - Rebuilding the Oologah School

Acknowledgements


Newspaper Accounts

Newspaper Quotes about the Tornadoes Affecting:

Andover, Kansas

Cowley County, Kansas

Red Rock/Billings, Oklahoma

Westport, Oklahoma

Skiatook, Oklahoma

Oologah, Oklahoma

Copan, Oklahoma


Andover, Kansas

Wichita Eagle

Front Page of the April 27, 1991, Wichita Eagle

Front Page of the April 28, 1991, Wichita Eagle

Article from the April 28, 1991, Wichita Eagle

The Wichita Eagle - April 27, 1991

The Wichita Eagle - April 28, 1991

The Wichita Eagle - April 28, 1991

Tulsa World
  • The southeast part of town [Andover], especially the mobile home park, is completely leveled. The injuries are too numerous at this point to assess.
  • A 13-year-old girl in Andover was carried 400 feet into a tree.
Daily Oklahoman
  • [He] has good news and bad news for some poor soul from Oklahoma City whose car broke down in Andover [Kansas] and was left at [his] garage. They fixed the car. The garage fell on it.
  • My son called and said, “Go to the basement.” I said, “I can’t, I’m making an apple pie.” But [she] and her husband took the stairs just as the door flew open and “I saw part of my house go by.” Saturday, the pot of cooked apples sat on the stove in the kitchen, which had no roof.

 Cowley County, Kansas

Front Page of the April 27, 1991, Winfield Daily Courier

The Winfield Daily Courier - April 27, 1991


Red Rock/Billings, Oklahoma

Tulsa World
  • It [tornado near Garber] was huge, the massive thing I’ve ever seen. It picked everything up and trashed everything basically, except for our house.
Daily Oklahoman
  • He stepped outside and saw the tornado destroying a house less than a mile away and heading straight for his three-bedroom home. He and his wife rounded up their six children and went into a cellar beneath the house. The tornado ripped through the house, shifting part of it onto the storm cellar’s exterior doorway. The family of eight was trapped inside.
  • He hustled everybody into an interior hallway and he was trying to hold the door shut all the time while the tornado was coming in. He was left standing there holding the door as it ripped the other door off in the hallway and busted all the windows out of the house and tore all the doors off except for the one he was holding onto.
  • The garage the tornado picked up and nobody knows where it went. However, a compact car, a Corvair, that was inside the garage was picked up by the tornado and set down about 15 feet from where it was.

Westport, Oklahoma

Tulsa World
  • In Westport, [he] was greeted by trees stripped of leaves and limbs, and pieces of metal, cars, furniture, lawn mowers and go-carts strewn everywhere. His Piper Comanche plane was ripped in half and an airplane engine from a neighboring hangar was sitting in the front of his plane. A dining room table was in the front seat of one of his cars and a car he had been working on “was still on the floor jacked up – just totally destroyed.”
  • I saw it [Westport tornado]. It was huge, and I have never seen anything that big. It never really funneled like the narrow ones, it was wide.
  • We had put the [Girl Scouts at John Zink Ranch] in the basement area because we heard the weather reports.
Tulsa Tribune
  • …the wind howled, the thunder boomed, and the tornado’s suction pulled them toward the opening of the culvert … [They were] together for a camping trip at Lake Keystone, [and] had taken refuge inside the three-foot-square concrete drainage pipe that runs underneath the Keystone Expressway. Outside, the tornado ripped apart the community of Westport. The family emerged … battered, bruised, and scared, but thankful to be together and alive.
  • In Iraq, there were things you could do to protect yourself, you could fight back. I felt so helpless (Friday night). In an act of nature, there’s nothing you can do. We just held onto each other and rode it out. I thought it would never end.
  • It looked like a dark gray round wall moving ahead, taking everything in its path.
  • I fish around Keystone a lot. I stopped to check out that culvert again about a week ago, thinking it might be a safe place in case of a tornado. When he heard the tornado warning issued on radio early Friday evening, [he] ordered the family to get in the cars and drive from the Cowskin South Campground to the culvert.
  • I thought it was going to rip the dirt off the top of the culvert. That’s when I got really scared. It seemed everything was shaking.
  • I would invite you to come in, but I can’t find the front door.
  • We had some 22-foot sailboats at the Boy Scout ranch. Most of them were piled up but one was totally missing and we found it half a mile away headed toward Tall Chief Cove. That’s a 3,000-pound boat.
Daily Oklahoman
  • It all happened in under two minutes. It was just here and gone.
  • [They] had to run to a neighbor’s new cellar and got inside just before the twister hit their farm home and destroyed it.
  • Although the roof of the bathroom was torn away, a shower curtain still hung beside the bathtub. 


Skiatook, Oklahoma

Tulsa World
  • The last thing [he] remembers was twirling round and round in circles in his blue pickup truck on Oklahoma 20 between Skiatook and Collinsville Friday night. The Skiatook resident was traveling east in his Ford Supercab when a tornado turned the truck westbound and then in circles. He was found in a ditch beside the highway covered with yellow paint. Hospital employees worked hours scrubbing the paint off his body… His crushed truck was found Saturday about two blocks north of the highway near some trees. He must have been sucked out through the windshield because it was crushed flat.
  • We grabbed on tight to each other as the wind was sucking us upward. The force pulled us out of the closet and whirled us to the back of the house where we were slammed face down on the floor. Luckily, I fell on top of the kids before the roof and bricks caved in on top of us.

Tulsa Tribune

  • Three steps that led from the driveway to the front door of [his] double-wide mobile home remained, leading to nothing, after Friday night’s tornado ripped through his neighborhood two miles west of Skiatook. On the top step, there was a soiled American flag, still folded properly.
  • It sounded like a jet coming through the door.
  • [He] thought the bathtub would be a good place for his family to wait out the tornado. But moments before the tornado ripped through his neighborhood west of town, [he] decided instead to take his wife and three daughters to the Skiatook Community Center. The bathroom was about all they could recognize of their house the next day.
  • The tornado deposited a neighbor’s car on top of [their] home in Skiatook. Saturday morning, Dad said, “I’m gonna have to tell her to quit parking on my bathroom.”
  • I saw it coming. There was nothing to do but hide and pray for the best. We watched out the door for a minute. It was terrible, just terrible. I’ll never do that again.
  • You could hear it [Skiatook tornado] rumbling from a long ways away. The whole house shook and the windows started popping.

Daily Oklahoman

  • Witnesses said the area [western sections of Skiatook] looked as if it had been bombed.


Oologah, Oklahoma 

Oologah Lake Leader

  • You just cannot believe what is back there … It looks like there is one huge salvage yard from Highway 169 and Rabbs Creek Road to Goose Island.
  • This incident is of such severity and magnitude that it is beyond the capabilities of state and … local governments.
  • It looked like King Kong or Godzilla walked over our [Public Service Company of Oklahoma’s] transmission poles and crushed them like aluminum foil.
  • A canceled check made out to Lakeside Grocery [in Oologah] … was found [in] Pittsburg, Kansas.
  • ...she had problems getting her bearings Saturday as she drove from Nowata to Oologah…
  • Oologah-Talala’s baseball team arrived home about 9:40 pm. Ten minutes later, their bus was welded to another by the twister.
  • One of our prize facilities [Oologah-Talala Public Schools] in the state of Oklahoma and now it is gone.
  • It took 27 years to do all this [build the school], and in two minutes it is all gone.
  • It tossed their stock trailer and destroyed their brand new car. They’re doing okay, but all they really salvaged were some clothes in the closet.
  • I still haven’t found a couch and two chairs. If you find some that don’t belong to anyone, they’re mine.
  • We had a good 10 to 15 minutes to take shelter [after the sirens went off]… When the roof went, most of it was supported by the water bed.
  • I can’t hardly explain the noise. It was that classic train sound.
  • We had a [tornado] drill a couple of weeks before so we went to the dressing rooms. We heard a train sound and then a whistling sound. When it was over, we had to find a way out. We got through the band room.
  • Antique dishes started falling down on us and the door started to fly away from the closet and it almost took [him] with it. I just hung onto his trousers and screamed, “You can’t leave me now!”
  • …have you seen the school? It is trashed. Our school is just trashed.
Tulsa World
  • Mobile homes and houses along U.S. 169 between Oologah and Talala were flattened, leaving twisted metal and scattered debris.
  • My wife looked up and she said, “The roof is gone” … I could feel the walls moving. I like to think I can protect my family from anything. There was nothing I could do. I pushed on the walls to keep them from moving.
  • They talk about the school being destroyed, it was nothing like our homes.
Tulsa Tribune
  • His 15-year-old cousin … was lifted about three feet off the ground when the windows shattered.
  • Beatties’ convenience store was recognizable only by the two stripped gasoline pumps in front. Numbers on the pump registered $10.01 and $15.01, indicating the last sales. But the nozzles and outer covering of the pumps were gone.
  • He said minutes before the storms struck, sirens sounded in Oologah, Talala … and Chelsea. “This is the first year we have had tornado sirens. We just got them working 30 days ago … It could have been a lot worse” without them.
Daily Oklahoman
  • From the helicopter I saw the path of the tornado. It couldn’t have hit the [Oologah-Talala] school any squarer. Didn’t miss a thing, did it?
  • I watched people picking things out of the trees. It’s absolutely devastating.


Copan, Oklahoma

Tulsa World
  • It is amazing how things happen. We can’t find the big Pepsi box that was outside the store and the ice box is out in the field, but a fish bowl didn’t break. We had one customer come down this morning because his Tulsa World was blown away!

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