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The tornado was the strongest of six tornados spotted in Oklahoma on February 10, 2009.   It had a strength of EF 4 on the Enhanced Fujita Scale.   The cyclone produced winds estimated to be at 170 miles per hour (270 km/hr).   The funnel cloud touched down at 6:50 P.M. CST Tuesday evening and cut a half mile (0.8 km) swath of damage through the city of Lone Grove, just north of Oklahoma City.   At 8:00 PM the tornado dissipated near Dougherty, Oklahoma.   The tornado’s total path was 45 miles (72 km).      Eight fatalies were confirmed, seven of which occurred  in the trailer park of Lone Grove.   Most fatalities were caused by "blunt-force trauma to the head".   Forty-eight to fifty people were injured.   Fourteen of these injuries were serious.

Formation

The National Weather Service released a tornado watch on February 10, 2009, after severe storms had been moving into the area for the past day.    A supercell thunderstorm emerged from these storms and a tornado warning was issued.   The supercell continued northeast, and produced additional funnel clouds.   Besides the six tornados in Oklahoma, four additional tornados touched down in Texas and one touched down in Missouri on the same day.   The next day, on February 11, two more tornados were reported.   No one was killed in the other tornados.

Devastation

Extensive damage ensued.   A total of 114 residences were destroyed by the first tornado in Lone Grove.   In addition, rescued crews were required to help several people who became trapped in their cars when the cyclone’s winds took down power lines.

Aftermath

Thirty national guard troops were sent to Lone Grove in order to further secure the area.   The American Red Cross and the Salvation Army also provided support.   The tornado was the deadlied to hit Oklahoma since May 3, 1999, and the strongest tornado during the month of February in Oklahoma since 1950.   Brad Henry, the Governor of Oklahoma issued a state of emergency in 17 counties.   President Obama then approved the governor’s request for federal assistance in 3 of the 17 counties on February 15th.

Further Information

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