NORMAN — Several longtime Norman businesses were damaged in Monday’s tornado outbreak in Norman.
Some of them worse than others.
Little River Marina
On Lake Thunderbird, Little River Marina was completely decimated.
Owner Bob Davis said the marina houses about 470 boats and that all of them were at least partially damaged. He estimated the boats at the marina are worth about $2 million, although he was unable to put a dollar amount on the damage earlier in the week.
Workers started removing boats and debris from the water on Wednesday.
“The marina is totaled,” Davis said. “Right now, we’re just getting the stuff out of the water to avoid environmental problems.”
Davis said “It’s going to take months to get this stuff out of here,” adding that it “could be a year before the marina is online.”
Davis said the marina was deserted because it was a weekday.
“Nobody got hurt,” he said. “You can always rebuild stuff.”
Country Boy IGA
Shane Kennedy and his co-workers at Country Boy IGA kept a close eye on weather reports Monday afternoon.
“We were watching the news about 5:30,” Kennedy said. “All of the sudden, they came on and said there was a tornado on Highway 9.”
Kennedy, who works as an assistant manager, said an announcement was made over the intercom for customers to seek shelter in the freezer.
“We told everyone to head toward the beer in the freezer,” he said.
Kennedy and 40 customers stayed in the freezer as the first tornado approached.
“We got there. When the first one hit we bowed our heads and started praying,” he said.
Another tornado then arrived.
“God led us right through it,” he said.
Kennedy said one person suffered minor scratches. Nobody was seriously hurt.
Kennedy and Danny Boyle, owner of Country Boy IGA, cleaned up debris around the store on Tuesday. Boyle said the store will be closed between six and nine months until a new one can be built.
Perfect Swing, 1900 Ann Branden Blvd., received damage to several structures on its lot, as well as extensive roof damage. Sections of the facility’s chain-link fence also were blown away.
Calls to the business weren’t returned, but a recorded message says the family fun center is closed “until further notice” after sustaining extensive damage during the tornado outbreak.
A message on Perfect Swing’s website says the driving range is open, but that other attractions remain closed.
At Nichols Marine, shards of glass covered the floor and the closed sign rested on the ground, after a tornado broke down the front glass door.
“I was standing right there when it hit,” said Rick Green, manager of the store, pointing to a pile of glass on the floor of the store entrance. “Glass was hitting me in the back as I was running. I couldn’t get away fast enough.”
Jordan Nichols, president and owner of Nichols Marine, said he saw the tornado spin toward the business.
“We took off running,” Nichols said. “The next thing we knew, the front windows were blown out.”
He said the tornado broke out windows and overturned boats.
“It was pretty interesting to watch,” Nichols said.
Damage was reported to homes and businesses near 24th Avenue SE and Highway 9.
South of CrossPointe Church in the St. James neighborhood, residents like Chris Lee were clearing piles of debris after a tornado ripped through her yard, destroying her gazebo, brick fence and tearing down trees around 5:30 p.m.
Lee said she was standing on her gazebo in the back yard watching the storm.
“It was light outside. All of a sudden there were real high winds,” Lee said, adding that it was then she ran inside and locked the back door, before she and her husband, a weatherman at the National Weather Center, dived into the laundry room.
“I peeked around the edge and saw the gazebo fly by my bedroom window. That’s when I knew it was a tornado,” she said.
Additionally, damage was reported at the National Weather Center at Jenkins Avenue and State Highway 9 and at various businesses near Classen Boulevard and Highway 9.
Transcript writers Meghan McCormick, Nanette Light and contributed to this report.