SPC Stats

Path length: 6.2 miles

Width:  900 yards

Fatalities:  7

Injuries:  12

Rating:  F4

County:  Pontotoc

A deadly F4 tornado developed just north of Harden City in Pontotoc County, OK and moved northeastward to one mile west of Stonewall before dissipating 3 miles north of the town.  The tornado hit a small, cement block cafe near Stonewall, completely destroying it and injuring several people.  Nine people survived by taking refuge behind the counter in the cafe. 

Summary via NWS Norman:

This violent tornado touched down just north of Harden City in Pontotoc County and moved northeastward to one mile west of Stonewall before dissipating 3 miles north of Stonewall.  Three farmsteads were leveled along the 6-mile path, with 7 people killed and other people injured on these farms. Cars, trucks, and machinery at the farms hit were also completely destroyed.

The tornado also hit a small, cement block cafe near Stonewall, completely destroying it and injuring several people.  Miraculously, nine people survived by taking refuge behind the counter in the cafe. In addition, 6 cars and a truck parked at the cafe were almost all a total loss.

Over 20 oil derricks in an oil field north of Harden City were destroyed.  Many cattle were killed as well.  Trees were stripped to stumps and the ground was swept clean.  Two funnels aloft had also traveled with the tornado.  One was believed to have joined the main tornado funnel over the cafe, and a loud blast was noted by patrons who took shelter in the cafe.

Tornado Path

Click Map To Enlarge

SPC coordinates:  Start: 34.62 / -96.58   End:  34.68 / -96.52      

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

Newspaper Clippings

Discrepancies:

We gathered information for this event from the SPC & NCDC Databases, the May 1959 Storm Data Publication and Thomas Grazulis in Significant Tornadoes and found the following differences:

Path Length:

  • SPC/NCDC have the path length at 6.2 miles.
  • Grazulis & Storm Data have an 8 mile path.  

Width:

  • SPC/NCDC have the width at 900 yards.
  • Grazulis as an 800 yard width.
  • Storm Data has the width at 880 yards.

      Sources:

      The Storm Prediction Center

      NCDC Storm Events Database

      May 1959 Storm Data Publication

      Killer Tornadoes in Oklahoma (1950-Present) – NWS Norman

      newspapers.com

      Grazulis, Thomas P. (1993). Significant Tornadoes 1680-1991: A Chronology and Analysis of Events. St. Johnsbury, VT: The Tornado Project of Environmental Films. Page 1020.

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