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Estimated EF-2 tornado tears through Talala homes

Posted at 7:02 PM, May 01, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-01 20:19:12-04

TULSA, OK (KJRH) — Damaging winds threw debris for miles in a late April tornado in Talala. One home was destroyed by winds estimated up to 120 mph.

Debris hit the Mitchell home after traveling more than a mile. Pieces of a barn ended up in the family’s living room, as Sylvia Mitchell took cover.

Sylvia and her husband Mike have lived in their Talala home for 29 years. Sylvia was the only one home when the tornado was approaching, so she hid in her center bathroom. She says it felt like a lifetime.

“What I heard didn’t sound like a freight train," Sylvia remembered, "it sounded more like some giant bomb that went off with an echo that lingered forever.”

Because the tornado's path mostly went through fields, there was not a ton of damage done. However, Meteorologist in-charge Steve Piltz with the National Weather Service in Tulsa says the storm could have been an EF-2 when it hit the Mitchell home, and could even have been an EF-3 somewhere along its path.

Rogers County Emergency Management Director Scotty Stokes says the tornado could have done a lot more damage if it had gone through a more populated area, as it leveled a few buildings, hit multiple homes, and flung debris for miles.

The Mitchells lost one of their dogs in the storm, and another was badly injured. Sylvia says she and her family are doing OK, and she and Mike are thankful for the family, friends, and strangers who are helping them clean up their home.

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