Cordell, OK F3 Tornado – October 9, 2001

Photo taken by a resident of Cordell at ~5:10 PM CDT on 10/09/2001 as this F3 tornado approached the town from the southwest. Via NWS Norman.

SPC Stats:

Path length: 3.8 miles

Width:  60 yards

Fatalities:  1

Injuries:  15

Rating:  F3

County:  Stearns

The strongest tornado outbreak in Oklahoma for the month of October occurred on October 9, 2001.  Per the NWS Norman, five supercells produce a total of 19 confirmed tornadoes.  Three of these were given a rating of F3 and all 3 moved through a part of Washita County.  

The first F3 formed in NE Beckham County near Elk City.  It tracked NE for 11 miles through parts of Washita and Custer Counties.  The second F3 hit in Washita County near Cordell.  We look more closely at this event in this summary.  The last F3 developed in Kiowa County near Gotebo and moved into Washita County.  

In this summary, we look at F3 number two that hit near Cordell, OK. The Oklahoma State Emergency Management Office estimated that 477 single-family homes were damaged, 132 considered uninhabitable. In addition, 40 businesses were damaged, 22 considered uninhabitable. (Info via Storm Data).  There were 9 reported injuries and no fatalities.  

Storm Data Entry

This tornado developed on the southwest side of Cordell, where a mobile home and metal warehouse were blown into a farmhouse.  The tornado then moved through south, east and northeast portions of Cordell, including a business district and a large residential area.  Most damage south of Main Street was rated F0 or F1.  North of Main Street, the damage path widened to approximately 500 yards, with the tornado then inflicting widespread F1 to F2 damage up to 12th Street.  Hundreds of homes were damaged in this area.  As the tornado began to exit the northeast side of Cordell, F3 damage was sustained to several homes on 9th Street, just west of Crider Road.  An F4 rating was considered; however, the structural integrity of most structures was at or below average, and was taken into consideration.  Another interesting note is that several eye-witnesses reported that the tornado was widest and contained the most violent-looking winds at this time.  The tornado eventually exited Cordell and dissipated 3.5 miles northeast of town.  The Oklahoma State Emergency Management Office estimated that 477 single-family homes were damaged, 132 considered uninhabitable.  In addition, 40 businesses were damaged, 22 considered uninhabitable.  Damage was estimated near 100 million dollars, and nine injuries were reported.

Tornado Path

Click map to enlarge.

SPC coordinates:  Start: 35.28 / -99.00      End: 35.35 / -98.97

Note:  Exact tornado path may not be straight and/or continuous.

Tornado Photos via NWS Norman Summary

These were taken by Kiowa County Deputy, Doug Beamon, 1 mile north of Cordell.

Damage Photos via the Wind Science and Engineering Research Center at Texas Tech University

This document was a part of the NWS Norman Summary.

Motel 41 (719 E. Main)