Leedey, OK Tornado, May 1947
Oklahoma Tornado Lays Town in Ruins
Warning May Have Saved Most
ONLY 5 DEAD IN FIRST NEWS
LEEDEY, Okla. (AP) - JACK SAPP, telephone operator in this northwestern Oklahoma town of 600 reported over an emergency line at the edge of town Saturday night [31 May 1947] that 'Leedey was three-quarters destroyed" by a roaring tornado which hit at 9:05 P. M. (EST). This was the second of the day in Oklahoma.
"We already have found five bodies," SAPP declared.
"We don't know how many more were killed or hurt. We need ambulances and doctors and medical supplies as far as we can get them."
"The waterworks of the town was destroyed and the telephone office hit. At least half the business district is gone."
"The town itself has been three-quarters destroyed."
"I was at work in the telephone office when the storm formed. I could see it coming about 45 minutes before it hit."
"I operated the fire siren from the telephone office and I sounded that and also turned on a loudspeaker system and warned people."
"By the time the storm hit, I think just about everyone was off the streets and headed for storm cellars."
"That probably kept a lot of people from getting killed or hurt."
"We still don't know just how bad it is but I have managed to set up an emergency circuit at the edge of town and we're trying to get reports out as fast as we can."
"We know the town is hard hit and we need help fast."
Earlier Saturday storm-jittery residents of the Oklahoma-Texas border area devastated by a tornado six weeks ago were terrified as another funnel-shaped black cloud skipped - apparently harmlessly - across open farmlands.
The twister cut a path only a few miles away from the track of waste left by the April 9 storm which killed 169 persons and injured 980.
The route of Saturday night's storm started in the vicinity of Higgins, Tex., where 46 persons were killed in April. The storm passed Woodward, Okla., about 7:45 P. M. No damage was reported from any section along the path.
Syracuse Herald Journal New York 1947-06-01
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