Pontotoc County hit by small tornado, National Weather Service says

Updated: Oct. 11, 2021 at 6:00 PM CDT
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BYNG, Okla. (KXII) - Pontotoc County was hit by the storms Sunday night. The National Weather Service said the area was hit by an EF-1 tornado, with winds 86 to 110 miles an hour.

A local John Deere dealer had structural damage to buildings and some equipment.

The storm blew sheet metal around the property and tangled it up in tree branches. More sheets lined the roads, catching on barbed wire.

Ada teacher Jackie Bartlett was in bed Sunday night when a tree came down on her roof, right above her bedroom. She estimates it was one hundred feet tall before it fell.

She’d been kept up by the storm, but then she noticed a smell.

“Started smelling the pine tree in the house in the bedroom and it was really really strong,” Bartlett said. “So I felt like ‘well, there’s a tree down but I can’t see one out the window, so it probably just fell in the yard.’”

Pontotoc County Emergency Manager Chad Letellier said his office saw several rotations. He believes one or two small tornadoes were responsible for the damage around the county.

Letellier said he saw a narrow path of damage from Highway-19 west of Ada to just south of Francis.

But most of the damage was on the south end of Byng, where Bartlett lives.

“I was awake already and heard high winds, really high winds and hailing,” Bartlett said. “And then just a lot of crunching noises from the branches and it sounded like the tree fell down on my house. But it was dark outside. Our electricity went off and I couldn’t really tell, so I just tried to shine my cell phone light from the window. I didn’t see anything from the window.

Bartlett said that was around 10 p.m. At 11:30, she heard a knock on the door.

“The fireman came and they knocked on our door and said there’s a tree on our house,” Bartlett said.

Bartlett’s roofer was there the next morning.

“He got up there and looked around and said that maybe the damage isn’t as bad as it seems like it would be,” Bartlett said. “So he’s hoping he just has to fix a small portion of it and that will take care of it.”

Letellier said there were no injuries reported and no one had to leave their home.

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