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With tornadoes bearing down, an aquarium encouraged guests to take shelter with its sharks

The Washington Post logo The Washington Post 5/21/2019 Deanna Paul

Tuesday morning in Tulsa began with a confirmed tornado and a blaring warning from the National Weather Service: “Take shelter now!”

One offer of shelter came from an unexpected and oddly entertaining source: the Oklahoma Aquarium, which says it has a secure storm shelter under its shark tank.

The shark tunnel and dome — home to an exhibit of bull and nurse sharks — is constructed from concrete “over a foot thick” and “designed to handle extreme force due to the weight of the water in the exhibit,” according to a social media post from the aquarium’s verified account.

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More importantly, though, the Oklahoma Aquarium wants you to know that its storm shelter has “the best view in Oklahoma.”

Tuesday morning’s powerful twister was located before 7 a.m. over the Tulsa International Airport; the aquarium is 19 miles south of the airport. The storm was moving northeast at around 50 mph, according to the National Weather Service.

Storms continued in northeast Oklahoma on Tuesday. Several flash flood, thunderstorm and tornado warnings had already been issued before noon. Streets in Tulsa have been barricaded by Tulsa officials since 4 a.m. because of flooding.

“Do NOT drive around the barricades. Doing so puts not only your life at risk, but also rescue crews,” the National Weather Service cautioned.

The Oklahoma Aquarium had a different message: “Stop by today during normal business hours,” it wrote, for “storm-free fun.”

Because yes, just in case you were wondering, it will be open.

Read more:

Severe storms, tornadoes and flooding expected in Oklahoma and Texas through Monday night

Subtropical storm Andrea forms in the Atlantic, before the 2019 hurricane season has even begun

Dozens of tornadoes have struck the Plains since Friday, with a serious outbreak feared on Monday


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