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.