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Oklahoma continues recovery following weekend storms

Strong storms producing at least three tornadoes over the weekend ravaged Oklahoma, knocking out power and leaving a path of destruction in their wake.

Story updated Tuesday, June 20, 11:04 a.m.

Strong storms producing at least three tornadoes over the weekend ravaged Oklahoma, knocking out power and leaving a path of destruction in their wake.

Oklahomans continued cleaning up from the storm on the Juneteenth holiday, especially in Tulsa.

Widespread straight-line winds upwards of 100 miles per hour led to more than 300,000 customers losing power over the weekend, according to power companies across the state. More than 150,000 were still without power late Monday.

National Weather Service forecasts show little predicted severe weather in the future, but danger remains.

Power outages persist — especially in Tulsa — where temperatures in the 90s and high humidity this week have the city opening up cooling centers for people who have lost power and air conditioning.

Public Service Oklahoma predicts that in the Tulsa metro area, the "majority of customers should have their power restored by 5 p.m. Saturday."

Severe storm damage in Northeast Oklahoma has power crews continuing to scramble. About 40 crews were cleaning up Tulsa streets to reopen roadways that were hampered by downed traffic signals turned into four way stops.

Cooling Centers

As residents without power brace for temperatures in the mid-90s this week, cooling shelters have opened around Tulsa.

Tulsa and Sand Springs have designated has designated certain community centers as cooling stations during the daytime.

  • Reed Park Community Center, 4233 S. Yukon Ave., Tulsa – open until 8 p.m. today
  • Lacy Park Community Center, 2134 N. Madison Pl., Tulsa – open until 8 p.m. today
  • Case Community Center, 1050 W. Wekiwa Rd., Sand Springs – 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. 

Crosstown Church of Christ has opened as a 24/7 American Red Cross shelter. The shelter can accommodate leashed pets. The Red Cross recommends that people staying overnight should try to bring their own blankets, pillows and toiletries.

  • Crosstown Church of Christ, 3400 E. Admiral Pl., Tulsa – 24/7, open through Thursday at 5 p.m.

Several other Tulsa County locations are offering air conditioning and power during the day, according to the City of Tulsa’s website.

  • Tulsa County Social Services, 2301 Charles Page Blvd., Tulsa – 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.
  • John 3:16, 906 N. Cheyenne Ave., 2134 N. Madison Pl., Tulsa – 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.
  • Salvation Army, 102 N. Denver Ave., Tulsa – 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.
  • Hutcherson YMCA, 1120 E. Pine St., Tulsa – 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. 

Other facilities have offered cooling services on Facebook or other social media.

  • Believer's Church, 4705 S Memorial Dr., Tulsa – 9:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
  • Tulsa Dream Center, 200 W 46th St N., Tulsa – 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.

While not official cooling stations, some Tulsa Public Library locations are open with power and wifi. The library website lists locations that are closed and recommends calling 918-549-7323 for the latest information on open locations.

Food Safety

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends that most refrigerated items be thrown out after 2 hours above 40˚F. The USDHHS’s Food Safety website says hard and processed cheeses, butter, fruits, vegetables and mushrooms can last longer at room temperature.

Most frozen foods can be refrozen if they remain cold, but they should be thrown out after 2 hours above 40˚F.

Three people confirmed dead in Tulsa, Creek and McCurtain Counties from storms

At a press conference Monday, Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum confirmed the death of a Tulsa residentwho died from the power outages and storms. Mayor Bynum said the person relied on a respirator, which was inoperable during the power outages.

Mayor Bynum said the City is providing charging stations for people who need to charge equipment - but emphasized the importance of checking on a loved one or neighbor you know who relies on equipment like a respirator.

In Creek County, a man died after a tree fell on his home.

In McCurtain County, the Oklahoma Medical Examiner’s Office says another person died because of the storm, but details are unavailable at this time.

Tree Debris sites

Tulsa has set up a temporary mulch site for residents and businesses to drop off fallen branches and other green waste at E Latimer St & N 89th E Ave. This mulch site will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. The city’s permanent mulch site is still closed and without power.

Municipal Jail

The Tulsa Municipal Jail is closed and without power. In the meantime, municipal inmates are being housed at the David L. Moss minimum-security prison in Tulsa.

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Copyright 2023 KOSU. To see more, visit KOSU.

Robby Korth joined StateImpact Oklahoma in October 2019, focusing on education reporting.
Graycen Wheeler
Kateleigh Mills joined KOSU in March 2018, following her undergraduate degree completion from the University of Central Oklahoma in December 2017.