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'Great little community': Salina neighbors balance Memorial Day, storm cleanup

Posted at 8:41 PM, May 27, 2024

SALINA, Okla. — Oklahomans living on the banks of Lake Hudson, balanced Memorial Day celebrations, with tornado cleanup. Tractors and chainsaws drowned out the usual sounds of boats and classic rock.

"It’s a great little community," Salina resident Kathy Sheehan said, "People like to get out and they help each other and, you know, we’re all okies, so we help each other."

Sheehan is a lifelong Green Country resident. This wasn't her first tornado. She remembers the Tulsa tornado of the 1970s.

"I think this one probably got my nerves a little bit more," Sheehan said.

Adding to those nerves was the challenge to get into the basement. She said the storm pressurized the house so much, she could hardly open the door.

"When we got into the basement it got real still and real quiet, just real eerie," Sheehan said. That was just before the night’s second tornado.

"Then all the sudden we heard it again so we had no idea what we were gonna come up out of the basement seeing," Sheehan said.

Hayley Goodman, the Assistant Chief of the Salina Police Department , described the response.

"You’re there first on scene. You get to see that effect people have," Goodman said. She described the scene, "Like a movie. It was very eerie. There was wind, there was a little bit of rain, and the alarms of the businesses and all you can just see is chaos around you."

The Salina Police Department was feeding residents on Memorial Day. They have frequently updated their Facebook page with efforts to help.

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