The deadliest outbreak of tornadoes in Oklahoma since 1999 killed at least
six people, including an infant, in Picher on Saturday.
toll has moved down from seven to six. The Oklahoman’s Michael Kimball and
Sheila Stogsdill are reporting.
The south end of Picher has been destroyed.
Oklahoma Highway Patrol Lt. George Brown said the infant died at a Tulsa
hospital and five adults were found dead in Picher. Identifying those killed
could take up to a week..
There are many people missing, but authorities could not give an estimate
given the extent of the damage.
At least a dozen ambulances were seen leaving the area shortly after the
twister struck. Utility poles were snapped in half in the area and car
windshields were blown out.
More than 30 people were transported to Integris Baptist Hospital in the
nearby town of Miami. Of those, more than 20 were treated and released.
At least five tornadoes in all touched down Saturday in northern and eastern
The Picher tornado is Oklahoma’s deadliest since the May 3, 1999, tornadoes
that killed 44 people in Oklahoma.
Gov. Brad Henry declared a state of emergency late Saturday.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Picher and all of the other
Oklahoma communities that have been impacted by the latest wave of severe
weather,” Henry said in a statement.
Federal and state officials will be on the scene Sunday or Monday to see if
the area qualifies for disaster relief assistance.
Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Tulsa, said he would work with Henry to get the area
declared a federal disaster area.
“I was down in Moore, Oklahoma, about 9 years ago and it was nothing like
this,” Inhofe said. “I’ve never seen anything like this.”
In all, at least 20 people have been killed in Oklahoma, Missouri and
The same storm system that ravaged Picher, also killed 12 in southwest
Missouri, according to the National Weather Service. Ten of the dead were
killed when a twister struck near Seneca, about 20 miles southeast of
Picher, near the Oklahoma border.