Various Towns, TX, OK Tornadoes, Apr 1950




(By the Associated Press)
Tornadoes killed 11 persons in four widely separated communities in Oklahoma and West Texas yesterday and last night.
The threat of more deadly black funnels hung in leaden skies over both states today.
Holdenville, in east central Oklahoma, was worst hit, with seven dead. A family of three died at Clyde, 16 miles east of Abilene in West Texas. A man and wife were killed, probably by the same storm, at Baird, six miles east of Clyde. A tornado killed a farmer near Hobart, in southwestern Oklahoma.
A twelfth person, a banker at Hobart, Okla., died of a heart attack evidently brought on by excitement over the approaching storm.
A forecaster said conditions over the stricken areas are "just right" for more twisters. Oklahoma's forecast was for "strong shifting" winds today and tonight.
Some 35 persons were injured seriously by the wrecking blasts of twisters which blew death and destruction in at least seven spots yesterday. In Texas, hail added its bombardment to the wind and swelled the damage toll.
Apparently the town which took the worst battering was Holdenville, in east central Oklahoma.
The Red Cross reported five dead and 100 injured there. Newsmen said many persons had been taken to hospitals with only minor injuries.
Three members of one family died in the wreckage of their crumbled home at Clyde. Two or three other families were said to be missing late last night and at least five other persons were injured.
Eight miles to the east of Clyde another black funnel believed to be the same one, killed an elderly man and his wife at their home at Baird. The bodies of STEVE ROGERS, 63, and his wife, 67, were found late last night at nearby Orchard.
Four miles south of Hobart, Okla., a twister dipped down, smashed into a farm community and killed a farmer and hurt his wife. Two or three buildings were damaged.
Two twisters skipped around south and southeast of Abilene but no injuries were reported. Another small funnel hit southwest of Rochester, a community between Wichita Falls and Abilene, and blew down several buildings but injured no one. Lightning set fire to an oil tank farm at Leuders, Tex.
At Abilene, lightning hit a Pampa, Tex., baseball player in a West Texas-New Mexico league baseball game. The park lights suddenly went out and when they came on Pampa catcher JIM MARTIN, was stretched on the ground. A doctor decided he was hit by the bolt. MARTIN was revived by artificial respiration.
At Sentinel, Okla., CY YATES, 63, assistant bank cashier, heard a twister was approaching. He telephoned his wife, warned her to get into a storm cellar, then collapsed and died.
Ironically the storms by-passed his Oklahoma town.
Four injured persons from Clyde were taken to a hospital at Baird, Tex. They were JEFF GRIFFIN, his wife, and two sons, J. D. and KENNETH.
GRIFFIN said their home was blown down around the family.
"I managed to get up and run to the home of W. V. Collett, not far away," he said. "It was gone."
BOBBY BRITTAIN, 17, of Holdenville, said he and his parents and four brothers and sisters saw the tornado approaching that Oklahoma town. All dropped to the living room floor.
"Things suddenly started whirling around," he said. "When I came to we were scattered all over the place. Dad was hurt bad. Mother found him under smashed boards."
The Rochester area storm was between Rochester and Weiner, Tex. Wheat farmers feared that what was left of their crops -- already hard hit by drought and greenbugs -- was destroyed.
Farmer CLOVIS WINCHESTER whose home was hit by twisters in 1941 and 1948 said he lost seven outbuildings in the funnel. The blast leveled power poles between Rochester and Weinert and splintered trees.
Deputy Sheriff Huges Martin of Holdenville said
"they say nearly every house in the northeast section is damaged or destroyed. Many persons are hurt."
In Oklahoma City, the highway patrol said troopers at Holdenville reported the wind cut a swath of destruction six blocks wide and 18 blocks long in the northeast section. All power lines and some telephone lines were reported down.

Kokomo Tribune Indiana 1950-04-29