Sweetwater Oklahoma Damage Report

PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE NORMAN OK
1200 PM CDT TUE MAY 8 2007

..SWEETWATER TORNADO DAMAGE SURVEY

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE CONDUCTED A DAMAGE SURVEY IN BECKHAM
AND ROGER MILLS COUNTIES ON MONDAY TO INVESTIGATE THE TORNADO THAT
STRUCK THE AREA ON SATURDAY…MAY 5TH.

HERE ARE THE PRELIMINARY RESULTS OF THAT SURVEY.

— SWEETWATER TORNADO —
– ENHANCED FUJITA (EF) SCALE RATING — EF3
– PATH LENGTH — APPROX. 7.5 MILES
– PATH WIDTH — AVERAGE AROUND 100-150 YARDS

THE TORNADO APPEARS TO HAVE DEVELOPED 1/2 MILE NORTH OF E1130 ROAD
AND ALONG HIGHWAY 30 IN NORTHERN BECKHAM COUNTY…ABOUT 2 1/2 MILES
SOUTH OF SWEETWATER. THE FIRST EVIDENCE OF A TORNADO WAS DAMAGE TO
AN OUTBUILDING AT A GAS FACILITY ON THE WEST SIDE OF THE HIGHWAY…
ALONG WITH SOME TREE DAMAGE. THE TORNADO MOVED NORTH ALONG AND
PARELLEL TO HIGHWAY 30…DAMAGING TREES…HOMES AND SOME
OUTBUILDINGS. DAMAGE IN THIS AREA WAS MAINLY IN THE EF0 RANGE.

THE MOST SIGNIFICANT DAMAGE OCCURRED WHEN THE TORNADO STRUCK THE
SWEETWATER SCHOOL. AT THIS LOCATION…THE TORNADO IS ESTIMATED TO
HAVE BEEN 100-150 YARDS WIDE. THE MOST SIGNIFICANT DAMAGE WAS TO A
METAL BUILDING THAT WAS THE SCHOOL’S MULTI-PURPOSE BUILDING…WHICH
WAS ALMOST COMPLETELY DESTROYED. THE ANCHORING THAT CONNECTED THE
BUILDING TO THE FOUNDATION APPEARED TO HAVE FAILED…ALLOWING ALL
BUT THE MOST NORTHERN SECTION OF THE BUILDING TO COLLAPSE. A SMALL
BUILDING THAT CONNECTED THIS BUILDING WITH THE SCHOOL’S GYMNASIUM
SUFFERED ONLY SLIGHT DAMAGE. THE GYMNASIUM…AT THE NORTHWEST CORNER
OF THE SCHOOL…SUFFERED SUBSTANTIAL ROOF DAMAGE…WHICH APPEARED TO
HAVE CAUSED THE WEST MASONRY WALL OF THE SCHOOL TO COLLAPSE OUTWARD.

OTHER DAMAGE ON THE SCHOOL PROPERTY CONSISTED OF A SMALL STORAGE
BUILDING OF SIMILAR CONSTRUCTION AS THE MULTI-PURPOSE BUILDING BEING
COMPLETELY DESTROYED…A BUS BARN/GARAGE STRUCTURE SUFFERING DAMAGE
WHEN THE LARGE GARAGE DOORS BLEW INWARD…AND DAMAGE TO
TREES…POWER LINES AND FENCES.

A PICK UP TRUCK…WHICH HAD BEEN PARKED IN THE SCHOOL’S PARKING
LOT…WAS ROLLED/TOSSED APPROXIMATELY 100 YARDS TO THE NORTH. A
HORSE TRAILER THAT HAD BEEN NEAR THE STORAGE BUILDING AT THE
SOUTHWEST EDGE OF THE SCHOOL PROPERTY WAS FOUND MORE THAN ONE
QUARTER MILE AWAY IN A FIELD.

JUST NORTH OF THE SCHOOL…A HOME WAS DAMAGED…AND AN OIL STORAGE
FACILITY WAS ALSO HIT. AN OIL TANK FROM THIS LOCATION WAS FOUND
APPROXIMATELY 500 YARDS AWAY.

THE TORNADO CONTINUED TO PRODUCE DAMAGE AS IT MOVED NORTH ALONG
HIGHWAY 30 INTO SWEETWATER. THE CHURCH AND POST OFFICE WERE
DAMAGED…AS WERE SEVERAL OUTBUILDINGS AND BUSINESSES.

DAMAGE CONTINUED FOR APPROXIMATELY 5 MILES NORTH OF SWEETWATER…
WITH SOME SUBSTANTIAL TREE DAMAGE NOTED ON THE WEST SIDE OF HIGHWAY
30…AND NUMEROUS POWER LINES DOWNED.

THE TORNADO APPEARED TO HAVE DISSIPATED JUST SOUTH OF E1040 ROAD IN
SOUTHERN ROGER MILLS COUNTY.

THE DAMAGE TO THE MULTI-PURPOSE BUILDING AT THE SWEETWATER SCHOOL IS
CONSISTENT WITH DAMAGE THE LOW END OF THE EF-3 SCALE. THE REMAINDER
OF THE DAMAGE WAS PRIMARILY IN THE EF0-EF1 CATEGORY.

EF3 WIND SPEEDS RANGE FROM 136 TO 165 MPH.

THIS SURVEY INFORMATION IS STILL PRELIMINARY…PENDING REVIEW OF ANY
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION FROM AREA EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCIES AND VIDEO.

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About Putnam Reiter

Putnam has been storm chasing since 1990 and is a co-founder of Hook-Echo.com. For his day job, Putnam works in emergency management for information technology.
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