Nowata residents clean up after storm

NOWATA, Okla. - It's not how they planned to spend their weekend.

Residents in Nowata grabbed chainsaws, garbage bags and anything else they could find to help their friends and neighbors clean up damage from Friday afternoon's storm.

The downburst hit two miles north of town at around 3:15 p.m.

It carried wind gusts of 80 to 100mph.

Sam Mensch had just walked into his house when the storm hit.

"The windows blew out and we just hit the floor and covered up behind the couch," he said.

Mensch owns a  livestock business, which sits on his property.

His wife, Sharon, was about to pay their employees for the day when high winds knocked out their living room window.

"It was just stuff flying through there and jerked the roof off the house," said Sam. "It tore all the barns up, trees and everything else."

Aside from a few damaged structures on their property, and a few minor injuries to the livestock, Sam and Sharon were spared the worst of it.

The same cannot be said for their neighbors.

About a quarter-mile from the Mensch property, two adults and a infant were killed when high winds destroyed their double-wide trailer home.

"They were good friends of mine. It's a very, very sad deal," said Sam.

In addition, the downburst snapped power lines, uprooted trees and caused significant damage to property along Highway 169 north of Nowata.

As the cleanup turns into rebuilding, residents like Sam and Sharon are thankful they have plenty of support.

"We're mighty thankful that we survived it," said Sharon. "We're very thankful we've still got our lives."

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