Wednesday, April 24, 2013

20 years ago: April 24, 1993 East Tulsa/Catoosa tornado

April 24, 1993: F4 Tornado vs truck along Interstate 44 just east of Tulsa, Okla. The picture is from the KJRH 2NEWS archives.

One of the largest tornadoes in local history struck East Tulsa and Catoosa on this date 20 years ago. The April 24, 1993 tornado killed 7 people, and it remains the deadliest single tornado in the Tulsa area.

The pictures below are rare dashcam images taken from nearly inside the tornado. A Catoosa policer officer shot the video as he nearly drove into the huge twister. I've posted a few "screen grabs" from the video.

The tornado first formed in East Tulsa as a huge storm quickly exploded over town. Businesses, churches and homes near Memorial Drive and Garnett suffered damage as the tornado developed.

The tornado quickly intensified into a nearly mile wide, rain-wrapped F4. 7 people died at and near Bruce's Truck Stop when the tornado crossed I-44 and moved into Catoosa.

Huge hail also accompanied the storm.

Catoosa police dash cam video. Looking west at the tornado. View from 193rd and I-44 (near present day Hard Rock Casino). Due to its size and the rain, many folks didn't recognize this as a tornado.

Not realizing the dark cloud was a tornado, the officer drives toward it. He quickly turns around. Inflow wind of 80-100mph blows debris across I-44.

The officer rides out the "edge" of the tornado in his patrol car. A large advertising sign blows across the road. The dark cloud on the left is the tornado. Baseball-size hail zooms from west to east past his car.

The officer travels east along I-44 after the tornado passes. That's a large metal overhead highway sign support ripped apart by the tornado. Good thing he stopped!

Aerial view. Bruce's Truck Stop was in the direct path of the tornado. The policeman (on right side) missed the strongest wind.

Radar image of the "hook echo" from the tornado. Image is from the NWS Doppler radar located near Inola. This radar serves the Tulsa area. The tornado was put into service only one day before!
Large tornadoes are easy to see in the "Doppler" mode. The term Doppler refers to detecting wind velocity. 


  1. Hello am looking for more information about this tornado my uncle died in that tordano april 24 in tulsa ok hes name its andres rodriguez my dad was driving with him from chicago to mexico i dont if u have any interview or more information newspaper With him my dads name its genaro rodriguez they were part of a band called "los pasos del norte" i will aprreciate ur help my its thank you hope i can have something thank u again

  2. my dad worked at cummins. it was directly hit by the tornado. he survived though. im sorry for your loss...

  3. That first radar image is from StormTracker 2 Doppler radar...the same dish you still use as one half of Double Doppler 2! I vividly remember Gary Shore showing that live.