TULSA (AP) — It could take a month or longer to remove all the debris left after last week’s violent derecho, Tulsa officials estimated Monday, the first day of the massive citywide cleanup.
“The damage is widespread throughout the city,” said city spokeswoman Lara Weber. “In midtown, there is significant debris, not just limbs but whole trees that will need to be removed.
“It’s going to take a while.”
The storms Tuesday and Wednesday packed up to 80 mph winds and toppled power lines and decades-old trees, leaving more than 100,000 homes and businesses in the area without electricity — some for several days. Meteorologists later classified the storm system as a rare derecho because of the wind damage it caused throughout the city.
Some residents compared the scope of the damage and outages to a December 2007 ice storm that wreaked havoc in northeastern Oklahoma.
Beginning on the outskirts of the 200-square-mile city and with a circuit of 3,000 lane miles of streets to travel, crews started picking up downed limbs and other green waste Monday, with the plan to work their way into the heart of the city.