Damaging winds knocked down trees and utility wires in sections of northern New England on Sunday and the forecast for stormy weather caused flight delays in the New York City area as the East Coast braced for the remnants of the violent weather that claimed 10 lives in Oklahoma and left residents there with the all-to-familiar task of cleaning up.
Heavy rain, thunderstorms, high winds and hail moved through sections of the Northeast on Sunday afternoon. The National Weather Service issued severe thunderstorm warnings and watches across Vermont, New Hampshire and most of Maine calling for severe weather.
Meanwhile, residents in Oklahoma are taking part in clean-up after the storms being blamed for the deaths of 10 people, including three veteran storm chasers. Tim Samaras; his son, Paul Samaras; and Carl Young were killed Friday. The Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla., said the men were involved in tornado research.
Jim Samaras told The Associated Press on Sunday that his brother Tim was motivated by science.
“He looked at tornadoes not for the spotlight … but for the scientific aspect,” Jim Samaras said. “At the end of the day, he wanted to save lives and he gave the ultimate sacrifice for that.”
Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin toured damage in El Reno, about 30 miles from Oklahoma City, on Sunday. She said that the death toll could rise as emergency workers continue searching flooded areas for missing residents.
The state Medical Examiner’s Office spokeswoman Amy Elliott said the death toll had risen to 10 from Friday’s EF3 tornado, which charged down a clogged Interstate 40 in the western suburbs. Among the dead were two children.
Oklahoma wasn’t the only state hit by violent weather Friday night. In Missouri, areas west of St. Louis received significant damage from an EF3 tornado that packed estimated winds of 150 mph. In St. Charles County, at least 71 homes were heavily damaged and 100 had slight
to moderate damage, county spokeswoman Colene McEntee said.
A total of five tornadoes struck the Oklahoma City metro area on Friday, the National Weather Service said. Fallin said Sunday that 115 people were injured.
It formed out on the prairie west of Oklahoma City, giving residents plenty of advance notice. When told to seek shelter, many ventured out and snarled traffic across the metro area — perhaps remembering the devastation in Moore. An EF5 tornado on May 20 killed 24 people.
Oklahoma Highway Patrol Trooper Betsy Randolph said roads quickly became congested with the convergence of rush-hour traffic and fleeing residents.
“They had no place to go, and that’s always a bad thing. They were essentially targets just waiting for a tornado to touch down,” Randolph said.