The University of Washington women’s softball team is safe.
Coach Heather Tarr’s club didn’t play their College World Series game Friday night against Tennessee after a mile-wide tornado touched down in and around Oklahoma City. The 4 p.m. PT game was postponed until Saturday at 9 a.m. PT, while baseball-sized hail crashed down amid thunderstorms not far from where a gigantic tornado last week killed 24 people.
Players and coaches were forced to take cover in the underground parking garage at their team hotel in downtown Oklahoma City just after 6 p.m. ET. The team huddled in a tunnel between the hotel and the gararge when the photo in the KING54 video above was tweeted.
As of 8:30 p.m. PT, the tornado threat was over but local news outlets were reporting at least five fatalities.
“Everybody’s back in our rooms now, we all have power and we’re settling in for the night,” said Alyssa Olveda, a member of the UW athletics communication office who made the trip. “The lightning is still pretty bad.”
Tarr described a similar scene.
“It went from being sunny and storm clouds, to basically just a whole bunch of black hail and storm lightning,” she said. “When we got back upstairs we couldn’t see any daylight.”
She downplayed the effect the storm cycle would have as her team tries to ride the momentum of their 4-3 walk-off win Thursday against No. 14 Nebraska.
“We’re fine. We’re ready to go,” she said. “We’re kind of used to the potential of this happening. Like in any sport, you just have to compensate and adjust. We’ve had two weekends of really hard rain delays at our stadium.
“We feel pretty comfortable getting all ready and then having to stop and then getting all ready again and having to stop.”
The National Weather Service declared a state of emergency in the Oklahoma City metropolitan area earlier in the day because of tornadoes moving south from OKC toward the suburb of Moore, the center of devastation last week from the larger storm.