PHOTOS: Suspected EF-1 Tornado rips through Sapulpa…worst damage in 59 years

“It was like a 12:30 nightmare train.”

That’s how one person described the carnage the next day, after seeing the damage all across Sapulpa.

The storm—which actually hit at 12:21am—had winds up to 89mph and was moving at a rapid clip. One of the officers with Creek County Sheriff’s Office told us that he saw it form near Hwy 33 and Hwy 66 junction, and then 30 minutes later, it was in Pryor, OK. “It was crazy, how fast that thing was moving,” he said.


Trees, electric poles, high-rise signs…none of it stood against the storm that swept through parts of Creek County and into Tulsa County last night.

Sapulpa Times was out assessing the damage immediately after the sirens had subsided. But the city had been plunged into darkness because of power outages, making it impossible to get the full scope of the damage until some hours later, when the sun began to rise. Still, it wasn’t hard to tell that Sapulpa was in bad shape.

Downtown Sapulpa seemed to get hit hard. While there weren’t as many trees, many businesses lost roofs, awnings and windows. According to Sapulpa Police, looters took advantage of the chaos in some of the local businesses.

These photos courtesy of Mark Robinson

By the time the sun was out, so were the people, checking on their houses, their trees, and on each other. As we remarked on our first Facebook Live of the day, it would’ve been a beautiful day if not for the horror that had just happened:

One thing that catches a lot of folks off guard is just how quick the storm hit and then left. In a span of about 90 seconds to three minutes, the storm slammed into Sapulpa, and then moved on into South Tulsa. For the amount of time that the storm was actually around, it was shocking to see the amount of damage.

Drone photos courtesy of Jack Hollingshead.

Thankfully, there have been no fatalities reported, nor even serious injuries, despite how it might look. Both Sapulpa Police and Creek County Sheriff said they had no reports of either case, yet.

Now comes the cleanup

City crews are already at work with their wood chipper trucks, heading down streets and feeding them broken limbs. At the time of this writing, it wasn’t known how long it would take.

An organized volunteer effort is underway in partnership with Sapulpa Main Street, and volunteers are asked to meet with their trailers and chainsaws at Martha’s Corner (that’s the corner of Water and Dewey) at 2pm on Sunday, and directions will be given on where and how to help with downtown cleanup.

If you’re needing help with limb removal, we’ve been told the best thing you can do right now is move your limbs to the curb, and one of the city’s shredders will (eventually) make their way down. We don’t know yet about a dump site for trees, but we’ve been told they’ll be releasing that information shortly, so stay tuned.

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