Mid-Del Public Schools Keep Students Safe During Tornado Warning
MIDWEST CITY, Oklahoma - Heavy storms pushed through the metro just as students at Mid-Del schools were starting their day. The school sent out a tweet thanking staff for moving quickly to shelter the students.
“At no point did we think this is a morning that tornadoes were going to be on the horizon,” said Mid-Del Schools Superintendent Dr. Rick Cobb.
When the severe storm arrived, the sirens in the area didn't sound.
“Several of our schools had gone on alert,” he said. “I think my phone was buzzing that Oklahoma County was in a tornado warning.”
The Mid-Del public schools within Oklahoma County immediately began to shelter in place where many students were still arriving to begin their day.
“Our staff did a great job of just immediately getting people in a position to be safe,” Dr. Cobb said.
All the kids were safe and none of the district's 25 schools were damaged. However, evidence of the storm was scattered near Midwest City Elementary School, the school with several split and downed trees.
Inside, classes resumed where a music classroom doubles as a shelter. Midwest City elementary is among five schools in the district equipped with a shelter that can safely hold more than 800 students, teachers and staff. The special education room also doubles as a shelter, so the kids don’t have to be moved. But on Tuesday, they didn’t have time to use them.
“By the time that we knew there was a storm, a tornado in the area it had actually passed,” Dr. Cobb said.
Now the district hopes to have shelters in five more schools in the next two years.
As for the sirens not sounding Tuesday morning, Mike Bower, Emergency Management Director for the City of Midwest City released this statement:
"The City of Midwest City Emergency Management office was monitoring a severe thunderstorm warning in the area this morning when 9-1-1 received a call at 8:30 a.m. about several cars turned over in the JC Penney parking lot at SE 29th and Air Depot. The arriving officer assessed the vehicles and reported he believed a tornado had hit the area. The Emergency Management office then contacted the National Weather Service and they initially advised they had some weak rotation move through the area but had no indication a tornado had occurred. Later they determined that an EF-1 tornado had developed that was not picked up on radar. There was no advance warning of the tornado and it passed through so quickly, it was gone before sirens could be sounded. Some residents reported hearing sirens and it is likely they heard the sirens that were sounded in nearby areas of Oklahoma City at 8:41 a.m."