Stillwater News Press

Weather Watch

April 15, 2012

Retired firefighter, veteran storm tracker eyes deadly tornado and alerts Woodward residents

WOODWARD, Okla. — Spring storm seasons have been relatively mild around Woodward in recent years.

Not so in 2012.

On the April 9 anniversary of the deadly Woodward tornado from 1947, there was a tornado that actually touched down south of Woodward.

"I remember mentioning that it was the anniversary date of the Woodward tornado," said Marty Logan, a retired Woodward firefighter and a storm tracker for Channel 9 in Oklahoma City.

That day just turned out to be prelude to the events of Saturday afternoon and early Sunday morning, culminating in a deadly storm that killed five people and injured around 30 others.

Logan and other storm spotters along with local and area emergency management officials tracked seven tornadoes during the day Saturday that threatened several areas but didn't do all that much significant damage.

By Saturday night, it was thought any remaining storms would be squall lines with mainly rain and hail.

That changed just before midnight.

"I got a call from channel 9 and they said we've got a storm around Arnett that is rotating rapidly," Logan said.

Logan moved to High Plains Technology Center at 34th and Hanks Trail to keep an eye on the storm. He kept getting reports of a tornado south of Gage, west of Woodward, then south of Fargo, a bit closer.

"I knew it was headed our way but I just didn't have a visual on it," Logan said. "Then all of a sudden, there it was."

Logan said he saw a tower get hit, then saw a power line flash, then "tracked the storm through Woodward as best I could."

In the process he also gave out warnings to people on where the storm was headed. Logan's warnings gave folks perhaps a couple of extra minutes to prepare, but the storm was moving fast and was over in a hurry.

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