April is not a good month in Oklahoma, unless you’re a storm chaser.
The news today is full of stories about the latest string of deadly tornadoes that swept through Oklahoma and on to Arkansas.
These are close to home for Meda. As an infant, she survived one of Oklahoma’s deadliest tornadoes in the state’s history. We usually pause on the anniversary to reflect on the event. This year, we forgot.
What still ranks as the deadliest tornado to ever hit the State of Oklahoma, and one of the worst in U.S. history, swept up from Texas on the evening of April 9, 1947, striking the town of Woodward at 8:42 p.m. with the power of an F5 storm. At least 107 people were killed and nearly another 1,000 injured in Woodward alone. Over 100 city blocks, and more than 1,000 homes and businesses in the city were destroyed.
Click on the photo for more pictures of their house.
They were lucky. When the house started coming apart, a wall fell down over them, protecting them from other flying debris. They were later able to get out of the rubble and were then found and rescued by a neighbor. A family photo made the pages of the Daily Oklahoman, and was later distributed by AP.
Meda’s mother wrote a long letter home about the ordeal, which you can read here.
Meda, of course, has no recollection of the tornado, but it was a huge part of her family’s history.