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Norman tornado updates: 12 injuries, widespread damage, road closures

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OnCue Damage

Tornado and weather-related damage near the OnCue at 2960 Classen Blvd on Feb. 26. 

This article will be updated with more information as it becomes available.

A tornado touched down in Norman Sunday night, causing widespread damage in the city and resulting in at least 12 weather-related injuries. 

David Reimer, owner of Texas Storm Chasers, reported tornado damage on Highway 9 from 12th Avenue Southeast, 24th Avenue Northeast, the Wheatland Drive area and the Postal Training Center at 9:38 p.m. Several high-tension power lines blocked Highway 9, preventing emergency response vehicles from accessing neighborhoods.

12:26 p.m. Tuesday: Norman’s public safety departments updated the list of road closures in the city and announced that State Highway 9 is open. 

4:41 p.m. Monday: OU emailed a list of resources for those in need within the OU community and encouraged supervisors and instructors to provide flexibility with employees and students as appropriate. 

10 a.m. Monday: The City of Norman reported city officials and community partners were surveying and assessing damage in Norman, and most of the damage is in East and Southeast Norman. The city also reported that utility repairs in impacted areas are ongoing. 

City of Norman Public Works is working with contractors for plans of storm debris collection and management, the city reported. 

A Resource Center opened at 12th Avenue Recreation Center Sunday night, the city reported, and will remain open as needed. Services include: tetanus shots and first aid assistance, mental health assistance, counseling for veterans, case management and an Oklahoma Gas and Electric walk-up center for customers with questions or concerns.

Norman’s National Weather Center reported it is surveying five tornado tracks on Monday. 

Several homes and structures have reported severe damage, including the Sinclair gas station near Imhoff Road and Highway 9 and the David Jay Perry Airport, according to KOCO.  

A storage facility near 24th Avenue and Classen Boulevard was also almost completely wiped out. 

7:30 a.m. Monday: Norman’s public safety departments reported several road closures in the city.

Several damaged traffic signals or areas with temporary signage were also reported. 

Norman Public Schools officials said Reagan Elementary School and Washington Elementary School will be closed Monday because of power outages.

Monday morning testimonies

For Ben Cruickshank, an OU computer science sophomore from Texas, last night was his first time experiencing a tornado.

Cruickshank lives at The Avenue at Norman apartment complex located off of Southeast 12th Avenue, which he said does not have a tornado shelter. 

When the tornado sirens began, Cruickshank and his three roommates went to their friend's apartment on the ground floor and took shelter in her bathroom with a few others for approximately an hour and a half. 

When it was safe to leave, Cruickshank and his friends walked outside to look at the damage and saw a portion of the outside stairwell's roof in front of Cruickshank's apartment door had fallen down and was barely hanging on. 

"It was kind of a shock," he said. 

Monday morning, Cruickshank said he saw several broken apartment windows, damaged cars and fence panels and insulation scattered across the ground. Cruickshank said they experienced power outages Sunday night. 

Taylor Jones, an OU Daily senior news reporter, also reported damage to The Avenue. 

For Noah Heredia, an OU air traffic management sophomore who also lives at The Avenue, when he thought of tornados, he always thought it was something that would never affect him. When the sirens first sounded, Heredia was unfazed and watched from his window as lightning flashed and debris was blown by the wind. 

"It was just a light show to me," Heredia said. "The rain had barely started and then in the distance I (saw) a power flash and I realized I (had) to go."

Heredia lives in a studio apartment, so all he could do for shelter was move as far away from the windows as he could. 

It was his first time experiencing a tornado, and he didn't know what would happen. He said this is when he started feeling scared.

"Before then, I wasn't even a bit scared,” he said. “It was just another stormy night."

After the storm passed, Heredia said his air conditioning unit flipped over outside of his apartment and fiberglass covered the yard like snow. 

Neighbors are checking on each other, he said, but everyone is still trying to figure out what they are supposed to do now.

The Avenue apartments issued a statement Monday afternoon to its residents and wrote its team is clearing all debris on the roadways and sidewalks. 

“We understand this is a tense time for all of our residents and the staff; we are working diligently to get everything and everyone taken care of,” the apartment complex wrote. “We have vendors on property for the damages to sides of buildings, roofs, etc. that we will continue to get taken care of so everyone can go back to normal living.”

The complex wrote the insulation that has blown around the property is not a health hazard.

 This story was edited by Karoline Leonard and Jazz Wolfe.

news managing editor

Alexia Aston is a journalism junior and the news managing editor at the Daily. She started at the Daily in the fall of 2020 and has previously served as a news reporter, senior news reporter and news editor. She is originally from Clinton, Oklahoma.

junior news reporter

Maddy Keyes is a journalism junior and junior news reporter at the Daily. She started at the Daily in the fall of 2022 and has previously served as a news reporter. She is originally from Norman, Oklahoma.

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