From Total Loss… Canadian Valley Tech’s Journey to Rebuild

Tana Black 2017-03-10



The students and staff of Canadian Valley Tech  in El Reno, Oklahoma have lived through a terrifying tale that most of us hope to never have to experience. But through the leadership of their staff and Dr. Greg Winters, Superintendent and a member of the NTHS Board of Directors, they’ve made it through to the other side.

From their website:

Weather lingo is second nature to Oklahomans. Many can identify a hook echo on a radar before learning to drive.

Outflow and inflow. Updrafts and downdrafts. These terms cause folks to shift their attention upward each spring as the clouds darken.

Canadian Valley Technology Superintendent Dr. Greg Winters admits to keeping one eye on the sky often during his 40-plus years in education.

Nothing properly prepared him for the fateful Friday evening of May 31, 2013.

“Everybody was watching the weather that day,” Winters said. “Forecasters were saying all week that the conditions were ripe for severe storms.”

… An intense super cell (characterized by the presence of a mesocyclone) produced a tornado southwest of El Reno at 6:03 p.m., according to information supplied by the National Weather Service. The exceptionally wide tornado followed a complex path, initially moving to the southeast at between 20 and 25 mph.

The storm expanded in size, and the tornado turned to a more eastwardly direction as it passed the El Reno Municipal Airport. Its speed increased to between 30 and 40 mph.

At 6:19 p.m., the tornado crossed U.S. Highway 81 and continued intensifying.

Power was lost at 6:20 p.m. at Canadian Valley Technology Center, as evidenced by electric clocks that stopped at this time.

A MASSIVE TORNADO
At 6:26 p.m., the National Weather Service accounts state that the storm reached its maximum size of 2.6 miles wide, with surface winds approaching 295 mph.

At this point, the storm made a turn northeast and slowed significantly.

At roughly 6:35 p.m., the tornado crossed Interstate 40 and engulfed the OKC West Stockyards. Shortly thereafter, it crossed State Highway 66 and wreaked havoc on Canadian Valley’s El Reno Campus. All nine buildings on campus were destroyed.

The tornado dissipated at 6:42 p.m.

JOURNEY TO REBUILD

It’s been 4 years since the Canadian Valley Tech campus was leveled, and they’ve finally been able to open their new facilities and welcome their students back to campus.

Watch the video below for more on their exciting story!