Pryor, OK Tornado, Apr 1942
On April 27, 1942, a tornado swept along Pryor main street from the western edge of the business district to the eastern edge of the city, destroying nearly every building and causing extensive damage to the residential section. The storm killed 52 people, according to the U.S. Weather Bureau, but The Associated Press set the total at 60 two days after the storm. More than 400 were injured in the storm that caused damage estimated at $3 million.
The F4 tornado struck about 5 p.m. local time, an hour and a half after one hit near Talala, Oklahoma, and mowed a path about 5 miles long, killing three and injuring 12. Talala, which was not hit, is about 30 miles northwest of Pryor. Governor Leon C. Phillips put the area under martial law, but because the Oklahoma National Guard had been activated for service during World War II, he sent state troopers to rescue victims, maintain order and prevent looting.
The Pryor tornado ranks as the fifth deadliest in Oklahoma history behind tornadoes at Woodward in 1947, Snyder in 1905, Peggs in 1920, and Antlers in 1945. The May 3, 1999, tornado at Midwest City caused more damage but fewer deaths.
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