As clear skies and warm weather return to Oklahoma this weekend, residents across the state are dealing with the aftermath of tornado and flooding damage.
Severe weather inundated the state during the first week of May, including multiple EF1 and EF2 tornadoes, heavy rainfall, hail and flooding. Northeastern Oklahoma was most impacted by flooding, while central Oklahoma saw most of the tornadic activity.
Residents, relief organizations and volunteers are coming together to clean up damage and help those in need.
By the numbers: Oklahomans impacted by May severe weather
In the first week of May, Oklahoma saw 12 tornadoes touch down in central and eastern parts of the state. Of those, four have an unknown rating on the EF scale, six were given an EF1 rating and two were EF2 tornadoes.
The tornado that struck Seminole on Wednesday night left EF2 damage, according to the National Weather Service. That tornado was nearly a mile wide, had multiple vortexes and its path totaled 31 miles.
Also on Wednesday, Earlsboro was hit by an EF1 and an EF2 tornado, leaving damage to a family ranch and Earlsboro Public Schools.
More than 16,000 Oklahoma Gas and Electric Co. customers were without power by 9:30 p.m. Monday night. After Wednesday’s storms, more than 7,600 customers didn’t have power.
That number was down to 2,400 customers in Seminole and Earlsboro as of 12:45 p.m. Friday. Damage from the storm impacted 180 poles, 48 transformers and 55,000 feet of wire, according to OG&E.
There were 21 storm-related injuries reported as of 7 p.m. Thursday night, according to the Oklahoma Emergency Management Department, including five cuts, 10 falls and six transportation-related injuries.
At least five homes in Pottawatomie County were damaged from Wednesday’s storms, but Seminole County officials still were assessing damage Friday.
In eastern Oklahoma, the weather took a different turn. Homes were flooded, and roads were closed due to high water.
Two fire trucks were damaged during water rescues in Muskogee. Between 30 and 40 homes in Bixby were evacuated due to the flooding of Snake Creek.
The Environmental Quality Department reported an impact to three public water systems and one public wastewater system.
What support is available for Oklahomans with tornado or flooding damage?
Help is available for those with storm damage from multiple organizations.
The following Red Cross of Oklahoma shelters are open:
- Kelly Haney Center, Seminole State College, 35390 State Highway 9, Seminole
- New Beginnings Church, 4104 E 151st Street S, Bixby
- First United Methodist Church, 600 E Okmulgee, Muskogee
The Salvation Army is providing food in Seminole and Bixby, and the Southern Baptist Disaster Relief has a kitchen set up at First Baptist Church in Seminole.
The city of Seminole was distributing supplies, including water, gloves, tarps, batteries, flashlights and plywood, on Friday for those affected by the storm.
Any Seminole homeowners needing help with chainsaw work, roof tarping or debris cleanup can contact the Samaritan’s Purse at 580-374-5819.
The city of Muskogee is offering its bulk waste pickup service for free as residents assess flood damage.
How to help
Volunteers are welcome in Seminole, including for Samaritan’s Purse, which will start orientation for volunteer work everyday at 7:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. at Immanuel Fellowship Church starting Monday.
To find out more about volunteering with Samaritan’s Purse, call 580-374-5817.
A Go Fund Me page has collected nearly $14,000 in donations for The Academy of Seminole, a charter school that sustained damage from Wednesday’s tornado.