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A National Weather Service, Norman look back at the April 14-15, 2012 Woodward tornado

From the National Weather Service, Norman Forecast Office:

The April 14-15, 2012 Woodward, Oklahoma Tornado


The following summary was taken from a public information statement issued by the NWS Norman forecast office at 4:41 pm CDT on Monday, April 16, 2012.

Preliminary Storm Information for the Woodward, Oklahoma Tornado

Beginning Time: ~1150 pm CDT, April 14, 2012 Ending Time: ~1227 am CDT, April 15, 2012 Beginning Location: 2 NE Arnett (Ellis County) Ending Location: 4 N Woodward (Woodward County) Fatalities: 6 Injuries: 29 EF-Scale Rating: EF-3 (Max Wind Speed 136-165 mph)

The tornado developed approximately 2 miles northeast of Arnett at 11:50 pm CDT on April 14, 2012 and moved northeast. Six structures were damaged as the tornado moved toward the Woodward county line. Only minor damage, downed trees and power poles/lines, was seen as the tornado moved over mainly rural portions of Woodward County.

At approximately 12:12 am CDT on April 15, 2012, the tornado struck two mobile homes 5 miles southwest of Woodward. The damage here was determined to be EF-2 in intensity, and also resulted in 3 fatalities.

The heaviest damage, rated EF3, was reported as the tornado entered the southwest sides of Woodward around 12:18 am CDT. Several homes and businesses were heavily damaged as the tornado continued northeast.

Several more mobile homes were destroyed by the tornado on the north side of Woodward, and resulted in 3 additional fatalities. The tornado finally exited the city of Woodward at approximately 12:23 am CDT, eventually dissipating approximately 4 miles north of Woodward at 12:27 am CDT.

This tornado information should still be considered preliminary as we continue to look over information.

Other facts and statistics

  • In the week leading up to the tornado (starting on April 9, 2012), Woodward County had been in 20 severe thunderstorm warnings, and 14 tornado warnings (including the warnings issued for the April 15, 2012 tornado). Two tornado warnings on April 14, 2012 (at 3:20 pm CDT and 4:59 pm CDT) included the city of Woodward.
  • If you had a weather radio programmed for just Woodward County, your radio would have alarmed 38 times (not including two Wednesday tests) between 2:30 pm CDT on Monday, April 9, 2012 and 1:15 am CDT on Sunday April 15, 2012.
  • On April 14th, your weather radio would have alarmed 22 times before the tornado warning was issued at 1200 AM CDT on April 15, 2012.
  • Woodward County was in a tornado watch continuously for 15 hours and 15 minutes on April 14-15, 2012.
  • Woodward County was under either a severe thunderstorm or tornado warning continuously for 4 hours and 14 minutes during the afternoon and evening on April 14, 2012.

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Bryan Painter

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