Tornado damage confirmed; county added to disaster declaration

May 1—The National Weather Service in Tulsa confirmed damage in McAlester from an early morning storm on April 26 was caused by a tornado.

Meteorologists from the weather service said an EF-1 tornado with maximum winds of 85 to 95 mph was the cause of damage observed from the Jackie Brannon Correctional Center to near the intersection of North Robin Street and West Coal Avenue in northwest McAlester.

The worst of the damage was along West Stonewall between North Hickory Street and Talawanda Avenue where roofs to homes were damaged and power poles were snapped.

Data from the NWS states the tornado began at 7:22 a.m. on the grounds of JBCC and tracked northeast for two minutes until ending near North Robin Street.

"This tornado moved across the northwest side of McAlester, damaging the roofs of homes, uprooting trees, and snapping power poles," the NWS said in a public information statement.

The NWS said the damage survey was conducted with assistance from Pittsburg County/McAlester Emergency Management.

A tornado that became a waterspout after touching down at the Cardinal Point Recreation Area near Crowder before traversing Lake Eufaula on April 28 caused no damage and awaits an official rating by the NWS.

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt amended a disaster emergency declaration to include Pittsburg County along with 15 other counties that have been impacted by severe weather since April 25.

"There is hereby declared a disaster emergency caused by the severe storms, tornadoes, straight-line winds, hail, and flooding in the State of Oklahoma that threatens the lives and property of the people of this State and the public's peace, health, and safety," Stitt declared in the emergency order. "I hereby declare that there is a State of Emergency continuing in the State of Oklahoma."

The state of emergency temporarily suspends requirements for size and weight permits of oversized vehicles that transport materials and supplies for recovery efforts, relief and power restoration.

Oklahoma's anti-price gouging law is also now in effect for the county after being added to the emergency declaration. Oklahomans who experience price gouging or contractor fraud are asked to report the suspected fraud to 1-833-681-1895 or

As of Wednesday, a federal disaster declaration has been made for the hardest hit counties in Oklahoma and includes Hughes, Love and Murray Counties.

Pittsburg County and McAlester residents who sustained damage from the weekend storms are asked to report damage by contacting the Pittsburg County/McAlester Emergency Management Office at 918-423-5655.

Choctaw Nation tribal members can also report damage to the Choctaw Nation's Emergency Management Office at 1-844-709-6301, or by email at