Storm damages Lake Eufaula Marina

Monday, August 11th 2008, 6:11 pm
By: News 9

By Craig Day, for NEWS 9

EUFAULA, Okla. -- Severe storms over the weekend caused hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage and left several people with minor injuries. Strong winds and thunderstorms raced through McIntosh County, near Lake Eufaula State Park located south of Interstate 40.

Lake Eufaula Marina was in the storm's path and took a direct hit as the weather passed.

"The wind was so strong and the hail was so strong, you couldn't even see until it all cleared out," said Jason Brown, marina owner.

Marina owner Jason Brown found a mess of jumbled docks once the 80 mph winds passed.

"This whole hangar of slips is supposed to be facing out this way," said Brown.

Brown said one dock faces east and west instead of north and south, and steel beams were bent like paper.

"It was powerful enough to move all this and just rip the steel off the marina like it was nothing, just hit each one of them and they dominoed into each other," Brown said.

Several travel trailers at Lake Eufaula State Park were rolled by the strong winds.

"It was very isolated. I don't know if the awnings acted as a sail or what, but these three trailers just took a lot of damage," said State Park Manager Sue Hughart.

The park's manager said despite the damage, it could have been worse, especially if the storms would have hit a few weeks ago or on a holiday weekend when the park would have been packed.

There were two people inside a camper they had just purchased when that powerful storm hit.

Crews had to rescue them by knocking out glass from the window.

"It's odd how the damage happened severe in one area and a tent, 100 yards away, didn't sustain any damage at all," said Hughart.

Three people were taken to the hospital with minor scrapes and cuts.

Damage to the marina is estimated at $300,000 to $500,000. The marina owner said the store and gas dock will reopen soon, but is not sure how many repairs will be made by the Labor Day holiday weekend.