First Major Tornado Outbreak of the Year Hits Oklahoma

After what has been an incredibly slow start to the twister season in the United States, Oklahoma experienced the first major tornado outbreak of the year yesterday, finally bringing some excitement to the scores of storm chasers who base themselves in the heart of America’s tornado alley. It wasn’t all fun and games for Oklahomans though, as one has been confirmed dead, others injured and up to 80,000 people were without power as cleanup begins from last nights series of twisters, damaging straight line winds and hail the size of something from a Biblical plague.

Tornadoes were spotted in some of Oklahoma’s most populated areas like Tulsa and Oklahoma City. Even the National Weather Service building itself in Tulsa was hit and lost power last night. They are operating today on a generator. Moore, Oklahoma, which experienced one of the biggest tornadoes in recorded history just two years ago was also hit again in yesterday’s tornado outbreak as the twister overturned cars on nearby Interstate 35, causing emergency officials to shut it down as they clear the cars one by one from the freeway. One of the overturned vehicles was a tanker truck, which a hazmat team is now working to safely recover.

The one death was in the smaller city of Sand Springs just outside of Tulsa where an entire mobile home park was nearly erased from the Earth as the twister blew through. You can catch some dramatic footage from Sand Springs.

In the same area, sixty people were taking shelter inside a gymnastics building when the roof was lifted of the gymnasium. All of these individuals were said to have escaped to safety.

The power of these storms is nothing to mess around with, as residents of the Sooner state have learned time and time again over recent years. In addition to the tornadoes, the intense thunderstorm complex dropped baseball size hail around the state and eventually made its way into Arkansas, where additional damage was done early this morning as the tornado outbreak continued.