Various Towns, OK, AR, KS Tornado Outbreak, June 1974

Oklahoma Tornado Damage 1974.jpg


By United Press International.
Tornadoes and flash floods smashed through Oklahoma and Kansas and more than a foot of rain pounded battered Arkansas Saturday, killing a dozen persons in the three states and injuring at least several hundred. The 3-day death toll stood at 16.
President Nixon declared Arkansas a disaster area following a tornado last Thursday which killed four., and extensive flooding throughout the state Saturday which left three more dead.
Oklahoma Gov. DAVID HALL prepared requests for disaster aid for his state, and particularly for Tulsa, the state's second largest city which was hit by several tornadoes at once Saturday. Eight persons died in tornadoes and floods in the state, with five of those deaths occuring at a nursing home in tiny Drumright, midway between Oklahoma City and Tulsa.
Another tornado at Emporia, Kan., destroyed all 20 stores in the Flint Hills Shopping Center, then hit a nursing home and a mobile home park. One person was dead and 80 were injured at Emporia, and authorities dug for possible victims at the shopping center and nursing home.
Two of the Oklahoma fatalities occurred in a nursing home in Drumright which a witness said "looks like it just exploded." Three others were killed in the city. Elsewhere in the state, one man died in Tulsa when a tree fell on him, another died in a tornado in Westville on the Arkansas border and the eighth drowned in a flash flood in Chewey as National Guardsmen evacuated 40 other persons.
The Red Cross said at least eight houses were destroyed in Oklahoma City, 16 others were heavily damaged and another 100 received some damage. Eighteen persons were injured in Oklahoma City, but none seriously. There were more than a dozen tornadoes in other Oklahoma cities.
MRS. RON ISELMAN stayed with the survivors at the Drumright nursing home, shielding them from the heavy rain because the one-story structure no longer had a roof.
The National Weather Service office at Oklahoma City's Will Rogers Airport was among buildings hit. It was evacuated after the wind ruptured a gas line but personnel returned a short time later.
Heavy rain accompanied the tornadoes in Oklahoma as well as Arkansas and some creeks and rivers were reported out of their banks. The Oklahoma Highway Patrol said several roads in north central Oklahoma were flooded and closed.
The Arkansas flooding was most severe at El Dorado, located on the southern border near Louisiana, where 12.43 inches or rain fell between 6 a.m. Friday and 6 a.m. Saturday. The storms were expected to continue through Sunday.
EVERETT STEWART, 54, of El Dorado drowned when his car stalled on an El Dorado street and flood water carried him away when he tried to walk to safety. IRENE PICKETT, 64, of El Dorado drowned when her car was washed off Arkansas 15 outside the city limits.
TIMOTHY R. KIRKPATRICK, 21, of Magnolia, Ark., was killed when he was unable to stop his car after spotting a four-foot washout on a country road near Magnolia.
Police reported water over the rooftops of houses and 40 families evacuated from the Calion community just north of El Dorado. The Red Cross said 250 homes were affected in all.
In Forrest City, where the flooding hampered cleanup efforts from Thursday's tornado, 68 National Guardsmen remained on duty to prevent looting and keep order.

The Salina Journal Kansas 1974-06-08