A tornado was reported moving toward Tulsa and Sand Springs, Oklahoma, on Wednesday night before it dissipated. Warnings were issued for Pawnee, Tulsa, Osage, and Creek Counties counties, and later, another tornado was reported near Moore, located near OKC.
There were reports the tornado destroyed homes and buildings near and in Sand Springs. The Tulsa World newspaper reported that at least one person died and another was in critical condition after the tornado hit Sand Springs.
“Damage reports are rolling in, including reports that atornado destroyed a gymnastics building in Sand Springs, Oklahoma, Oklahoma’s News 6 reported. Sixty people inside of the building safely escaped,” says Weather.com in a report.
— Tulsa World (@tulsaworld) March 26, 2015
Roof torn off a home in Moore, Ok after a tornado passed through. pic.twitter.com/yPO1lPiifq
— Diana Zoga (@DianaZogaFox4) March 26, 2015
— Kyle Weeks (@kyleweeks) March 25, 2015
Prayers going to all the people in Tulsa. pic.twitter.com/x1HtnYzRla
— Forrest McMurray (@ForrestMcMurray) March 25, 2015
— Meagan Farley (@MeaganFarley1) March 25, 2015
VIDEO: Sirens sounding during Tornado Warning in downtown Tulsa, Oklahoma – [ Instagram / juliettabuttercup ] pic.twitter.com/F9pCj3f2V1
— Micah Grimes (@MicahGrimes) March 25, 2015
— Johnny Kelly (@stormchaser4850) March 25, 2015
The first storm passed, amateur radio operators reported damage in the Sand Springs community west of the city. A second storm passed through the city a half-hour later, prompting another tornado warning. The Storm Prediction Center had warned that a clash of warm and cooler air masses could lead to violent storms. It predicted mostly hail and high winds, but said tornadoes couldn’t be ruled out.
“We are seeing slightly more favorable conditions for tornadoes today as compared to yesterday, when there was just a waterspout over a lake in Arkansas,” Weather.com senior meteorologist Nick Wiltgen said on the website.
More than 20,000 people were without power in Oklahoma on Wednesday due to the severe weather rolling through the area.
An Instagram user in Tulsa posted videos of the scene on the ground in the city. “Sirens are back on in downtown #Tulsa. We are at @dwellingspaces Wind is blowing. There is circulation and severe hail downtown. #severeweather,” she wrote.
The National Weather Service issued a warning about the tornado and accompanying storm for Pawnee, Tulsa, Osage, Creek Counties before the twister dissipated.
Earlier on Wednesday, the National Weather Service said Wednesday that a severe weather system in Arkansas produced the nation’s first tornado for the month of March, ending a twister drought in a month when tornado season is usually starting to ramp up for parts of the U.S.
Meteorologist Jeff Hood in Little Rock said a weak “waterspout” tornado briefly touched down in Bull Shoals Lake in Marion County in northwest Arkansas on Tuesday night. He said it will likely be classified an EF0 — the weakest tornado with wind speeds of 65 to 85 mph. “waterspout” forms over water. The tornado Tuesday never made it onto land, and there were no reports of damage.
Greg Carbin, warning coordination meteorologist for the Storm Prediction Center, said waterspouts over inland bodies of water like in this case are ultimately categorized as weak tornadoes by the National Weather Service.
“This will be the ‘tornado’ that breaks the drought for March,” Carbin said Wednesday.
Before this week, only about two-dozen twisters had been recorded so far this year during a period when about 120 are typical. That’s because stable air had been preventing the ingredients of the violent storms from coming together.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.