The Woodward News

Local News

January 25, 2013

Area writer plans book on 1947 tornado

Woodward, Okla. — Before she took a week-long history class one summer, Lakin Ragins had never heard of the 1947 Woodward Tornado.

Now the Northwest Oklahoma native, who grew up and still lives in the Burlington area, is putting together a book about the deadliest tornado in Oklahoma's history.

"I took Dr. Fisher's (Deena) Northwest Oklahoma history class that she has in the summer and there was a tornado panel with survivors telling their stories," Ragins said. "Until then I thought the 1999 tornado (that hit the Oklahoma City area and other communities) was the worst that ever happened.

"I was kind of mad that I didn't know about the (Woodward) tornado."

Ragins then began researching the tornado online but wasn't able to find a complete book about it. There were plenty of articles and statistics, but not a book that "gets all the stories together,” she said.

Ragins wants to do that with her planned book.

"It's something I thought should be done," Ragins said. "It's still the deadliest tornado in Oklahoma and the 6th deadliest nationally.

"I want to connect out there with people that don't know about the tornado."

The tornado on April 9, 1947 cut a 221-mile path of destruction from the Texas Panhandle into Kansas. In Woodward alone, 107 people died and thousands of homes and buildings were destroyed and damaged. The tornado also caused 6 deaths in Ellis County and destroyed 255 buildings.

Plains Indians and Pioneers Museum Director Rob Roberson is assisting Ragins in gathering information and setting up interviews. Ragins is wanting information not just from Woodward but also residents from other affected communities.

Ragins said she started interviewing survivors in December and has met with 6 so far.

She plans to visit with as many people as possible and get as many stories as she can.

"I want it be a complete book," she said. "I want to get all the stories. Everyone's story is different."

Note: You can get in contact with Ragins through Rob Roberson at the Plains Indians and Pioneers Museum, 580-256-6136 or you can contact her by email -

Text Only
Local News
  • Boy, 7, drowns in weekend accident

    A seven-year-old boy died over the weekend when he fell into a swimming pool at a private residence in the Wheatridge addition, according to Woodward police reports.

    July 29, 2014

  • Commission OKs grader financing

    Monday morning in their weekly meeting, Woodward County Commissioners approved the financing on a new John Deere motor grader and discussed in detail the upcoming County Officers and Deputies Association meeting the county will host this October.

    July 29, 2014

  • Deal reached to improve veterans' health care

    WASHINGTON (AP) — A bipartisan deal announced Monday would authorize about $17 billion to help veterans avoid long waits for health care, hire more doctors and nurses to treat veterans and make it easier to fire executives at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

    July 29, 2014

  • Western Plains sets school supplies drive

     As the beginning of the school year approaches, so does the need for new school supplies.

    July 29, 2014

  • Area woman recovering from West Nile

    It wasn’t too many years ago when West Nile Virus was a scary word everyone hoped never happened to them and most of the time, that was true.

    July 27, 2014

  • Dedication set for art pieces

    Woodward’s collection of public art pieces will grow by two this week.

    July 27, 2014

  • ‘Support YOUR Cause Tour’ making stop in Woodward

    A musician is looking to raise $5,000 at an upcoming local concert.
    But Scott Helmer isn't raising the money for himself.  He is hoping to collect money to help support the Woodward Arts Theatre.

    July 26, 2014

  • Experts offer important tips on grilling

    When Roy Lenz prepares his grill for one of his famous steak nights at the Brandin’ Iron in Laverne, he does so with meticulous care and cleanliness, almost to the point of being compulsive.

    July 26, 2014

  • Light agenda set for county

    County commissioners will see a light agenda for their final meeting in July on Monday.

    July 26, 2014

  • State board votes again to delay education plan

    OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma's State Board of Education voted on Wednesday for a second time to delay a formal plan for adopting new education standards in math and English amid opposition to the proposal from three education groups that represent public school boards and administrators across Oklahoma.

    July 24, 2014