Tornadoes of 1974 in Green Country

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Quick Facts

The storm system came in two waves
22 tornadoes were produced in Oklahoma, leaving more than a dozen dead
At the time, this tornado outbreak was considered the costliest natural disaster to strike Tulsa

June 8, 1974 – the day that Green Country was hit with 10 tornadoes leaving more than a dozen dead and more than 280 people injured.

Storms started in the morning with heavy rains that caused significant flooding across eastern portions of Oklahoma and northwest Arkansas. The flooding alone left 2 people dead in Green Country, one near Tahlequah and one near Chewey in Adair county.

Later that afternoon, storms started to form and producing tornadoes in Central Oklahoma. These storms pushed to the east, causing extensive damage.

The first tornado to move through Green Country would also become the deadliest of that day. Starting just before 5:00 pm, the tornado destruction path was 29 miles long with a width of four football fields that left 14 people dead and 150 people injured.

The destruction path started 3 miles southwest of Drumright, moved through Drumright to Olive, Lake Keystone, 7 miles west-southwest of Sperry and then into Skiatook.

12 of the dead from this tornado were from Drumright with half of them being from a nursing home that was hit. This tornado would go on to be the strongest tornado of the day in Oklahoma, rated an F-4. This tornado caused an estimated $3.5 million in damage (1974).

Almost two hours later, two F-3 tornadoes moved through Tulsa county almost simultaneously with more torrential rainfall. The first one started W of Tulsa (near Glenpool) and then moved through Tulsa up to Big Cabin. This tornado was 64 miles long and 100 yards wide, leaving 2 dead and 80 injured.

The other started near Sapulpa, moved through Tulsa to Oral Roberts University and then on to Chouteau leaving a path of destruction 49 miles long and 100 yards wide. This tornado did not cause any deaths, but did leave about 40 people injured.

The two tornadoes that moved through Tulsa caused what was estimated around $30 million dollars in 1974.

A list of all the tornadoes that occurred that day in Oklahoma can be found in the attached picture below:

by: Megan McClellan Updated: Jun 8, 2016 – 8:03 AM
Photo:Damage at ORU in 1974. Courtesy of NWS.

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Kyrie Wagner

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