June 1974 Great Plains tornado outbreak

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June 1974 Great Plains tornado outbreak
Type Tornado outbreak
Duration June 8, 1974
Tornadoes confirmed 36
Max rating1 F4 tornado
Duration of tornado outbreak2 8 hours, 18 minutes
Damage Unknown
Total fatalities 22 fatalities

1Most severe tornado damage; see Fujita scale

2Time from first tornado to last tornado

The June 1974 Great Plains tornado outbreak was a significant tornado outbreak that affected portions of the southern Great Plains and the Upper Midwest on June 8, 1974. The outbreak produced 36 tornadoes, at least 19 of them significant or intense, and is the second-deadliest June tornado event in Oklahoma history, with 16 deaths reported in the state, second only to the 35 people killed by an F4 tornado on June 12, 1942, in Oklahoma City.[1][2] The deadliest tornado of the outbreak was a powerful F4 that struck the town of Drumright in Oklahoma, killing 14 people, 12 of whom were killed at Drumright. Another deadly and destructive F4 tornado struck the town of Emporia in Kansas, killing six more people. The outbreak also produced two F3 tornadoes in the Tulsa metropolitan area that killed two people and, combined with flooding, produced the costliest natural disaster in that city's history up to that time—a disaster worth $30,000,000 (1974 USD). Additionally, the outbreak produced non-tornadic winds in the city which reached 100 knots (51 m/s) (115 miles per hour (185 km/h)) for several minutes.[3] In addition to confirmed tornadoes, a possible tornado occurred at 8:15 p.m. CST 5 mi (8.0 km) south of Cullison in Kansas, producing intermittent damage, but is not officially listed as a tornado.[3]

Confirmed tornadoes[edit]

36 0 10 7 8 9 2 0
List of confirmed tornadoes
Time (UTC)
Path length
F3 Will Rogers Field to W of Forest Park Oklahoma 1942 8.9 miles (14.3 km) This tornado first hit the National Weather Service office, then moved northeast across Oklahoma City. As it touched down just a few feet southwest of the NWS office, a gas leak forced NWS officials to evacuate the building and shift responsibilities to the NWS office in Tulsa.[4] The tornado destroyed 11 homes, two trailers, and five businesses. 42 homes sustained significant damage and 300 reported minor damage.[5] 14 people were injured.
F2 N of Spencer to W of Jones Oklahoma 2011 4.5 miles (7.2 km) A tornado damaged several farms and leveled an unoccupied, two-story farmhouse. The frame home sustained damage that would have warranted an F4 rating had it not been empty, thus making its structural integrity dubious.[5]
F3 W of Jones to S of Luther Oklahoma 2018 10.2 miles (16.4 km) An intense tornado toppled four large, steel-made power lines that were constructed to withstand winds up to 150 miles per hour (240 km/h).[5]
F1 NE of Breckenridge Garfield 2030 0.2 miles (0.32 km)
F1 E of Will Rogers Field Oklahoma 2135 2.5 miles (4.0 km)
F3 SE of Nicoma Park to NE of Harrah Oklahoma 2148 9 miles (14 km) A tornado damaged or destroyed farm buildings. It also damaged an OG & E plant and power poles.[5]
F4 SW of Drumright to NW of Skiatook Creek, Tulsa, Osage 2155 29 miles (47 km) 14 deaths – A major tornado first hit the school at Oak Grove, then continued into Drumright. The tornado destroyed about 100 homes, killing 12 people in the northwest section of Drumright. Half of the 12 deaths were in a nursing home. Civil defense sirens only sounded shortly before the tornado hit, leaving residents with little time to react. However, the death toll in Drumright would have been significantly higher had the tornado hit the nursing home a few minutes earlier, when many people were crowded into the dining hall.[4] After devastating part of Drumright, the tornado struck the small community of Olive, where it destroyed trailers and part of a school. One person died as nearby frame homes were also leveled. The tornado later damaged Pier 51 on Lake Keystone, 7 mi (11 km) southwest of Sperry.[4][5] There, a woman died in one of several trailers that were destroyed. The tornado damaged brick homes near Skiatook before finally lifting. One source lists the path length as being 45 mi (72 km) long.[5]
F3 SW of Davenport to SE of Kendrick Lincoln 2246 6.8 miles (10.9 km) A strong tornado struck the towns of Davenport and Stroud. In the Davenport area, the tornado destroyed three homes, heavily damaged 24, and slightly damaged 233. Near Stroud, the tornado destroyed a service station and damaged about 100 homes.[6]
F1 S of Davenport Lincoln 2255 1.5 miles (2.4 km)
F2 NW of Stroud Lincoln 2303 0.1 miles (0.16 km) A tornado destroyed barns and damaged homes.[6]
F3 E of Sparks Lincoln 2320 2.5 miles (4.0 km) A brief, intense tornado damaged farm structures and trees. In the touchdown area, barns and trailers were reported destroyed.[6]
F2 N of Bristow Creek 2335 4.3 miles (6.9 km)
F2 N of Owasso to N of Collinsville Tulsa 2340 5.4 miles (8.7 km)
F2 NE of Earlsboro Seminole 2345 11.8 miles (19.0 km) A tornado destroyed six homes, badly damaged several others, and damaged a school. It also killed four cows and a horse. Rating disputed, ranked F3 by Grazulis.[6]
F3 N of Glenpool to Tulsa to SW of Vinita Tulsa, Rogers, Craig 2350 63.6 miles (102.4 km) 2 deaths – This was the first of two F3 tornadoes to hit the Tulsa metropolitan area, both of which occurred simultaneously. The tornado began north of Glenpool and moved northeast across Tulsa before striking parts of Catoosa, Claremore, and Big Cabin. The most severe damage occurred near Oakhurst and in sections of Tulsa. However, the tornado was rated F3 solely on the basis of damage to an anchored, concrete, iron-pipe cattle gate. A 20-foot (6.1 m) section of the gate was pulled out of the ground and transported 30 ft (9.1 m) from where it originally stood. The gate was "anchored by 3 posts, all set in 24 inches of concrete."[4] 80 people were injured. One of the two deaths may have been due to flooding.[6]
F3 Sapulpa to Tulsa to SW of Sportsmen Acres Community Tulsa, Wagoner, Rogers, Mayes 2350 48.9 miles (78.7 km) The second F3 tornado developed east of Sapulpa and moved east-northeast across south Tulsa, passing through not only Tulsa itself, but also part of Broken Arrow, Inola, and Chouteau. Along the way, the tornado struck the campus of Oral Roberts University, causing extensive damage. It also unroofed homes in the Walnut Creek, Southridge Estate, and "Park Player" housing additions.[6] 42 people were injured. Both Tulsa tornadoes damaged about 300 homes and numerous businesses, leaving more than 1,500 Tulsa residents homeless.[4] The supercell that spawned the Tulsa tornadoes originated in western Oklahoma and traveled 300 mi (480 km) in 12 hours across the entire state, dissipating in Delaware County.[4]
F3 S of Prague to NW of Tuskegee Seminole, Okfuskee 0005 29.9 miles (48.1 km) A strong tornado destroyed several farmhouses in its path.[6]
F2 S of Newalla Pottawatomie 0050 2 miles (3.2 km) A brief tornado "obliterated" a trailer and damaged several farmhouses nearby.[6]
F2 SW of Kiefer to N of Bixby Creek, Tulsa 0130 14.4 miles (23.2 km) A tornado destroyed many farm buildings.[6]
F3 S of Eucha Delaware 0314 2.7 miles (4.3 km) This was the last of nine F3 tornadoes to hit Oklahoma on June 8, 1974. It lofted and threw two houseboats, and also produced near-F3 damage to a newly built brick home. Nearby homes were also unroofed and destroyed. Rating disputed, ranked F2 by Grazulis.[6]
F2 SW of Afton to NW of Bernice Craig, Delaware 0330 3.8 miles (6.1 km) A strong tornado touched down near Ketchum, passed northwest of Cleora, and dissipated near Grove. It caused extensive damage to utility poles, trees, and roofs. One site reported $100,000 (1974 USD) in damage.[6]
F1 SE of Indianola Pittsburg 0424 1 mile (1.6 km)
F0 SW of Leon to N of Latham Butler 2115 11.4 miles (18.3 km)
F0 S of Lyons to NW of Mitchell Rice 2130 5.2 miles (8.4 km)
F0 N of Grenola Elk 2310 0.1 miles (0.16 km)
F4 Emporia to W of Auburn Lyon, Osage, Shawnee 0000 37.5 miles (60.4 km) 6 deaths – This devastating, long-tracked tornado first struck the northwest side of Emporia, touching down in the Flint Hills Shopping Center (now the Flinthills Mall). The tornado completely destroyed all 20 shops in the shopping center, where at least 75 cars were tossed into the air and mangled.[7] Nearby, the tornado also struck a nursing home and a mobile-home park, killing five people in the mobile-home park. Both the nursing home and the mobile-home park were leveled. Additionally, a nearby apartment complex and a residential area were completely destroyed. 80 injured persons were hospitalized.[6][7] After leaving Emporia, the tornado destroyed 10 farms before lifting. In all, at least 177 people were injured; the toll may have been as high as 220, most of which were in the Emporia trailer park.[6]
F0 S of Beulah to SW of Radley Crawford 0200 4.3 miles (6.9 km)
F0 Flora Clay 2150 0.1 miles (0.16 km)
F0 SW of Carmi White 2155 0.1 miles (0.16 km)
F0 S of Peoria Heights Peoria 2315 0.1 miles (0.16 km)
F0 N of Oreana Macon 0055 0.1 miles (0.16 km)
F0 Stanberry Gentry 0100 0.1 miles (0.16 km)
F1 SW of Neosho Newton 0330 1 mile (1.6 km)
F0 Sarcoxie Jasper 0340 0.1 miles (0.16 km)
F1 NE of Neosho Newton 0340 2 miles (3.2 km)
F1 Graham to NW of Arkoe Nodaway 0400 10.1 miles (16.3 km)
Source: National Climatic Database Center


  1. ^ OUN Webmaster (20 November 2013). "Top Ten Deadliest Oklahoma Tornadoes (1882-Present)". Norman, Oklahoma: National Weather Service. Retrieved 31 December 2013.
  2. ^ Grazulis, Significant Tornadoes, 408–20.
  3. ^ a b "Storm Data and Unusual Weather Phenomena". Storm Data. Asheville, North Carolina: United States Department of Commerce. 16 (6): 19. June 1974.
  4. ^ a b c d e f "30 Years Ago - June 8, 1974" (PDF). Tulsa Tornado Tribune. Tulsa, Oklahoma: National Weather Service: 4, 5. Summer 2004. Retrieved 26 December 2013.
  5. ^ a b c d e f Grazulis, Significant Tornadoes, 1165.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Grazulis, Significant Tornadoes, 1166.
  7. ^ a b "Storms in 3 States Leave a Toll of 16, Hundreds Injured". New York Times. United Press International. June 9, 1974.


  • Grazulis, Thomas P. (1993). Significant Tornadoes 1680–1991: A Chronology and Analysis of Events. Environmental Films. ISBN 1-879362-03-1.
  • — (2003). The Tornado: Nature’s Ultimate Windstorm. University of Oklahoma Press. ISBN 978-0-8061-3538-0.

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