May 3, 1999 Storms: The Day That Changed Everything

While Oklahoma has been cleaning up from the tornado since Saturday, this week also marks 25 years since one of our state's most historic storms on May 3rd, 1999.

Thursday, May 2nd 2024, 4:25 pm

By: News 9, David Payne


While Oklahoma has been cleaning up from the tornado since Saturday, this week also marks 25 years since one of our state's most historic storms on May 3rd, 1999.

 A powerful F-5 tornado packed the highest wind speeds ever recorded and tore through central Oklahoma. News 9 experts who tracked that monster storm took us back to the tornado that changed everything.

Nobody knew it was gonna be history. Worst day ever. You knew it was gonna be a bad day just because of the way it felt, feel the moisture in the air, hot and muggy. 

That’s what made it so unique and so horrible. The fact that it happened here, a lot of debris in the air tearing things up.

Trackers say that they remember that feeling of realizing that it wasn’t just hitting trees anymore. They realized it was about to go into the neighborhoods where children and parents were.

The only thing they say you could describe it as is the wake of a ship from all the debris just being blown away from it. Jim Gardner says it’s still the most dramatic thing he'd ever seen in his life.

The grass was sucked out of the ground. The asphalt was scoured off.

That day was the first day. 

David Payne says he formed a friendship with a woman he met while chasing and he talked her out of going back to her home, which would ultimately be in the path of the tornado. And now 25 years later, she still sends him a yearly message, thanking him for saving her life.

logo

Get The Daily Update!

Be among the first to get breaking news, weather, and general news updates from News 9 delivered right to your inbox!

More Like This

May 2nd, 2024

May 28th, 2024

May 28th, 2024

May 28th, 2024

Top Headlines

May 28th, 2024

May 28th, 2024

May 28th, 2024

May 28th, 2024