Sunday, April 15, 2012

Tornadoes hit Oklahoma; missionaries safe

The severe storms forecasted for Oklahoma on Friday and Saturday did not materialize as expected, thankfully. But Oklahoma did not escape unscathed. A powerful tornado struck Woodward, a town of about 12,000 located in northwestern Oklahoma about three hours from Elliot, shortly after midnight on Sunday. Five people lost their lives in the Woodward tornado and ten others are reported in critical condition. There are reports of extensive property damage. NewsOk has the latest developments on Woodward (including the video below) and promises further updates.

The Woodward News has additional coverage about the tornado:
Five people are known to have died in the tornado, 2 people southwest of Woodward near the Tangier area and 2 children at the Hideaway Trailer Park. Another person died at the hospital, officials said. 
There was a late report of a missing 8-year-old girl, but officials believe she was located safely in Ellis County. 
Injuries were estimated at 20, "about half of those are critical," City Manager Alan Riffel said. Reports of injuries varied from lacerations to broken femurs to life threatening conditions.
The Woodward News also provides an online slideshow documenting the destruction left in the wake of the tornado. Our thoughts and prayers go out to those impacted by the Woodward tornado.

Other tornados touched down in various parts of western and central Oklahoma over the weekend, including Norman, Mustang, and Oklahoma City. NewsOK has extensive coverage of the weekend's storms.

We received another report (below) from the mission office, confirming that all the missionaries are safe, including the senior missionary couple assigned to Woodward. Again, we're grateful that mission leadership is watching over the missionaries and keeping us advised.
We’re happy to report that all our missionaries are safe and well.  
The storm was less severe than forecast except in Woodward, Oklahoma where a large tornado nearly quarter-mile wide caused five confirmed fatalities, massive damage and injuries early this morning. We have a Senior Missionary couple there; they are fine. 
Thank you for your faith and prayers. 
Elder David Luke
Office Staff

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