LAWTON, OK (TNN) - 58 people including three Lawtonians lost their lives on this day forty years ago when tornadoes ripped through Texoma. That fateful day is remembered as Terrible Tuesday.
"It's a day you never forget."
Shirley Duggan was only 14 years old when a tornado hit her home on the south side of Lawton.
She remembers April 10th, 1979 as a seemingly normal day.
“Everything was going fine,” said Duggan. “After school, then it started clouding up and just looking like storms. And I’ll never forget, Tom Charles was the weather man at the time, and he kept saying this particular storm was going to hit. It’s like oh no, you know, and my sister, she kept watching it saying well it’s going to it here. We really need to go somewhere.”
Then the sirens went off.
“So we get into the bathroom and my brother comes in there and tells my sister and my mom and I and my nephew to get in the bathtub. He’ll hold the door," said Duggan. "All of a sudden we hear the wind picking up, and he’s trying to hold the door. The wind was so fierce that it took everything he had to hold the door. About that time, we started hearing what sounded like a freight train.”
The tornado hit Duggan's family home, shattering all the windows and taking their garage. Luckily, though, her family all made it out alive.
Duggan said there are two things specifically that she will always remember about that day.
“I mean, you never forget the sound of the tornado, cause it does sound like a freight train, but the smell is one thing that I’ll never forget,” said Duggan. “Walking out and it just, it smelled like wood, just wet wood. To this day, when I smell wood, when it’s wet, that’s what I remember, is the tornado of ’79.”
Duggan said the traumatic experience still affects her to this day.
“It’s something each year when it comes around, you’re like oh wow here comes April 10th again," said Duggan. "You hope and pray the day’s not like that day was.”