As Elk City cleans up, Oklahoma braces for another round of severe weather – NewsOK.com
ELK CITY — Bo Mikles sat inside his mobile home Tuesday evening, chatting on the phone with a sheriff’s deputy as death approached.
Minutes later, as a rain-wrapped tornado ripped through town, Mikles, 53, tried to make it to his pickup and, eventually, to shelter.
He never made it. Neighbors later would find his body in a field behind his mobile home, and his pickup several hundred feet away.
As residents here continued to clean up from Tuesday night’s deadly tornado, much of the state was bracing for another round of severe weather.
Forecasters predict another storm system is expected to reach northwest Oklahoma Thursday afternoon before hitting the Oklahoma City metro area in the evening, said Daryl Williams, a spokesman for the National Weather Service’s Norman office.
The system is expected to bring chances for tornadoes, powerful straight-line winds and hail up to softball size, forecasters said. Best chances for tornadoes will be in northwest Oklahoma, but twisters can’t be ruled out in central Oklahoma, he said.
Tuesday’s tornado cut a path through Beckham County about 7:15 p.m., killing Mikles, injuring others and damaging or destroying dozens of Elk City homes and businesses.
The tornado, which was given a preliminary rating of EF2, was one of eight that touched down in the state Tuesday evening, the National Weather Service reported. The other seven twisters caused minimal damage.
Mikles was killed southwest of the Elk City limits by a tornado that came from the south-southwest, Beckham County Sheriff Derek Manning said.
Manning said Mikles, a longtime county resident, had called the sheriff’s office about another matter before the tornado approached. He told them he had to leave his mobile home about six miles southwest of Elk City to seek shelter in a rural area about a mile north of State Highway 152 and just east of Merritt Road. As Mikles was either in his pickup or climbing into it, the tornado struck.
The same tornado that came from the southwest tore through the Fairway housing addition near the Elk City municipal golf course, Manning said.
Elk City Fire Chaplain Danny Ringer told reporters late Tuesday the tornado there destroyed 40 homes and severely damaged 50 to 75 others.
Firefighters dug a survivor out from under rubble in the Fairway addition, Elk City Police Chief Eddie Holland said.
Relief workers organized to provide meals, snacks and drinks to all emergency responders as soon as the tornado passed through the area, said Jim Coffey, a director for the Beckham and Roger Mills counties Baptist Disaster Relief Association.
Chain saw crews from across the state were en route to Elk City to help remove debris from property and streets, Coffey said. Also, the Elk City First Baptist Church was opened Tuesday night by the association as a shelter.
The Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs will have a representative in Elk City on Thursday to assist veterans affected by Tuesday’s storms in applying for emergency grants. The representative will be at the Elk City Convention Center, 1016 Airport Industrial Road.
In Oklahoma City, about 1:20 a.m. Wednesday, storms snapped a number of power poles and left downed power lines along SW 29 between S MacArthur Boulevard and S Council Road.
Yet another round of severe weather is expected to move through the state Friday, forecasters said. Friday’s storms could bring up to 4 inches or more of rain, causing flash floods in some areas, forecasters said.