EF-4, EF-3 tornadoes lay ruin to Oklahoma communities during deadly tornado outbreak

Damage survey teams with the National Weather Service have found damage consistent with EF-3 tornadoes in the towns of Sulphur and Holdenville. EF-4 damage was found in Marietta, marking the first tornado of that strength in Oklahoma since 2016. At least four storm-related deaths have been reported in Oklahoma.

SULPHUR, Okla. – One rare EF-4-rated tornado and at least two EF-3 twisters destroyed entire communities in Oklahoma over the weekend, killing four people in the state and leaving survivors searching through ruins.

Damage survey teams with the National Weather Service in Norman, Oklahoma, said they found damage consistent with at least EF-3 tornadoes based on the Enhanced Fujita Scale in the towns of Sulphur and Holdenville. 

After further assessment of the damage in Marietta, NWS survey teams said they are giving the tornado a low-end EF-4 rating. This marks the first EF-4 tornado in Oklahoma since 2016 and the first in the U.S. since March 2023. 

The tornado in Sulphur ripped through the downtown area, destroying nearly every business on West Muskogee Avenue. At least one death has been confirmed after a woman's body was found in one of the buildings after the storm.

The only silver lining is that the twister hit late Saturday night when the downtown area was mostly empty.

Two other deaths were reported in Holdenvile and one in Marietta. 

FOX Weather Correspondent Brandy Campbell reported from Sulphur on Monday, where the area most devastated by the storm continues to deteriorate. Some buildings crumble with gusts of wind, and the area is closed to the public because of the hazardous conditions.


"Police have said they're trying to limit people coming back here because they have had some buildings continue to collapse," Campbell said.

Owners with businesses on West Muskogee Avenue are shocked that the entire stretch of a vibrant downtown community that was home to arts, restaurants and other shops is just gone. 

Larry, Allison and Vicki Combs own an antique furniture business in Sulphur that was destroyed by the tornado. On Monday, they said their business wasn't recognizable. 

"You see it on TV, (in) other places, and you feel bad for those people, but you really don't know it 'til it's you, 'til it hits you," Larry Combs said.

Christy Morris, owner of The Mix Mercantile, said she first learned the tornado was happening when the security alarm notified her the doors were ripped open. 

After waiting for the path to be clear enough to see the damage the next morning, Morris said it was "catastrophic." 

"There is no way that we are going to be able to salvage it," she said.

The Table restaurant, another local business that shared The Mix Mercantile building, was also destroyed in the tornado. Morris said it's especially devastating because the historic building was constructed in the 1920s.

Still, Morris said they would like to rebuild in downtown Sulphur.

"It would be terrible if we couldn’t build back in that location, in that town, because it truly is a very special place," Morris said.

Recovery efforts face more severe weather this week

A heavy fog settled over the destruction in downtown Sulphur on Monday, and local officials are concerned about the possibility of severe weather this week. 


Sulphur, Oklahoma forecast this week.
(FOX Weather)


Another round of severe weather is targeting the Plains and Midwest, shifting back into western Oklahoma by Wednesday. 

Tornadoes, very large hail and damaging winds are the primary threats.

Thunderstorms and heavy rain are possible for Sulphur on Wednesday and Thursday.