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Violent windstorm kills 4 in Oklahoma, but it was no tornado

September 09, 2012|By Matt Pearce

Twisters over Brooklyn and Queens got the nation's attention this weekend, doing little damage, while a killer storm struck northeast Oklahoma.

Two Nowata County grandparents and their grandchild died when a column of cold air plummeted through the atmosphere toward the Earth and created up to 100-mph winds that tossed their mobile home more than 100 yards.

"The mobile home was strapped down, so it took a pretty darn good wind to get it up, and [the winds] tossed it into a ravine," Mike Lacy, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Tulsa, told the Los Angeles Times. "It tumbled some and disintegrated into pieces."

Authorities have yet to release their names. The winds also overturned trucks on the Will Rogers Turnpike, trapping and killing one driver, Jimmy King, 70, from Ash Grove, Mo.

Friday's storm was no tornado — just the kind of spring-like collision of warm and cold systems that happens once summer's hot temperatures start dropping.

"No tornado warning was issued, so it’s more than likely there were no sirens,” Lacy said.

The National Weather Service released a strongly worded warning before the storm, Lacy said.

The service has recently been experimenting with strongly worded warnings after researchers said not enough residents listened to instructions to take cover before last year's massive Joplin, Mo., tornado that killed at least 158.

The Oklahoma storm also brought baseball-sized hail, shredding the exterior of one nearby home.

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matt.pearce@latimes.com

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