Atmospheric Archive: Antlers Tornado

 

 

Antlers tornado monument

 

Deadliest tornado in Texoma history

It's the third deadliest tornado in Oklahoma history and by far the costliest in terms of lives to ever course through Texoma.
April 12, 1945 was a day of utter devastation for the southwest Pushmataha County town of Antlers. This EF-5 tornado roared out of the southwestern sky during the late afternoon (5:45p.m.), and nearly wiped out the town. In a community of only a few thousand people, 1,500 were left homeless while 86 were killed. Another 343 were injured. The damage path was ½ mile wide.
This excerpt from a Tulsa World newspaper story illustrates the aftermath: "The Oklahoma Highway Patrol opened an emergency operations center in the gym of the Antlers high school. Power was knocked out to the water system, leaving the entire town without water. One one telephone in the city remained functioning.

The Antlers Funeral Home, which lost two of its three employees in the storm, was overwhelmed. The dead were taken to funeral homes in Atoka, Hugo, Durant, Idabel, Talihina and Paris, Texas, for embalming. The bodies were returned a few days later to a temporary morgue in the high school basement for relatives to identify".

This huge storm continued through Pushmataha County passing by Nashoba and continuing all the way to Wister, OK and then further eastward into Arkansas. Several other tornadoes across OK, AR, and Missouri killed another 45 people that same day.

 

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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by timothy Yates on Dec 25, 2009 at 07:29 PM
    My grandparents lived in Antlers at the time of the storm. One of the victims was mistakenly identified as my grandfather by the Daily Oklahoman. Of course this led to great deal of consternation by relatives who lived outside of Antlers... It wasn't until a few days later that my mother who had been out of town returned home to find her father alive and well.
  • by Mike Location: Georgia on Dec 15, 2009 at 08:05 AM
    I was a 1st grade student at the St Agnes school. School let out early that day on news that Pres Roosvelt had died. I left school and walked downtown to where my mother managed a dry cleaning shop. She was busy closing early because of the President's death. After closing, we walked across the street to a grocery store. We noticed angry clouds approaching from the west. The lady clerk advised we wait until the front had passed as it looked like hard rain coming. A man then ran in and yelled for all to get cover as a funnel was bearing down on us. He quickly carried me to the back of the store, placed me, my mother, and the clerk on the floor, then threw feed sacks on us. This all in less than a minute or two. He took cover somewhere. I'll never forget the roar as the funnel hit. Afterwards, I saw many dead and injured as we made our way to where our home had formerly stood. It was gone. My good friend Silas Lewis, age 9, was killed that day. Have never forgotten him.
  • by Glenna Location: Idaho on Aug 21, 2009 at 02:38 PM
    I had an entire family killed in this storm.I was working on Ancestry.com Gibson family of 8 have a common grave stone in Antlers City Cemetery. More info would be great.
  • by Steve LaNore Location: KXII_TV on Apr 13, 2009 at 03:26 PM
    Yes, the Sherman tornado will be covered in a future installment...but more died and were injured in Antlers and the overall damage was greater: that was the theme of this post. Have a great day! Steve
  • by Lynn Location: Denison on Apr 13, 2009 at 02:45 PM
    Don't forget the 1896 F5 tornado in Sherman - it was also catastrophic in terms of fatalities. From Wikipedia: "On May 15, 1896, a tornado measuring F5 on the Fujita scale struck Sherman. The tornado had a damage path 400 yards (370 m) wide and 28 miles (45 km) long, killing 73 people and injuring 200."
Sherman 4201 Texoma Pkwy (903) 892 -8123 Ardmore 2624 S. Commerce (580) 223-0946
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