Violent weather rakes region
The Lawton area dodged the bullet of damaging storms that passed through Southwest Oklahoma Thursday afternoon and evening. However, surrounding areas were not so lucky as they were in the path of storms that brought hail, high winds, power outages and even some tornadoes.
Triple-digit winds at Walters, power outages
A wind gust of 104 mph was confirmed at the Oklahoma Mesonet site in Walters around 6:30 p.m. At around the same time, the NWS issued a tornado warning for northeastern Cotton and western Stephens counties after a severe thunderstorm capable of producing a tornado was reported four miles east of Walters.
Cotton Electric Cooperative in Walters reported widespread outages. As of 8 p.m., 4,780 customers were in the dark. The number of customers out by county included Comanche, 2,579; Cotton, 1,083; Tillman, 31; Stephens, 1,058; Jefferson, 18; and Grady, 11.
Southwest Rural Electric in Tipton, reported a small number customers in North Texas without power but none in Southwest Oklahoma.
Public Service Co. of Oklahoma reported 763 customers in the Duncan area without power, 598 in Grandfield, 557 in Temple, 12 in Tipton and a handful in the Lawton area.
Walters FireStation damaged
Scooter Bivins of the Walters Fire Department reported that the fire station there sustained damage due to the storm.
"Our building has caved in and the west wall came down," he said.
Bivins said many power lines were downed and trees were damaged throughout Walters.
The winds particularly took a toll on trees living and dead in Walters. The damaging winds ripped off limbs and even snapped trees in half. U.S. 277 was closed from Oklahoma 5 to East-West County Road 1800 as Cotton Electric crews worked on lines that had been thrown into the roadway.
The city was mostly dark as sunset arrived, aside from city offices and the Cotton Electric Cooperative headquarters. After the first storm passed, residents were assessing damage and clearing away limbs from homes.
Carl Neal was examining the remains of his favorite tree, a fruitless pear, that was split who know how many times and landed on his roof and even blocked all his doors. He said his wife and dog were in the bathroom for safety when one limb, then another, came crashing down.