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Tornadoes, baseball-size hail reported in southwest Oklahoma

Two tornadoes were confirmed in southwest Oklahoma Wednesday, the first of which caused some damage at the Goodyear plant in Lawton.

The first tornado was reported about 6:50 p.m. in southwest Lawton, according to the National Weather Service.

No injuries were reported.

The Goodyear plant sustained roof damage, and an outbuilding at the plant was destroyed, Comanche County spokesman Jacob Russell said.

Four people were also trapped in a mobile home between Elgin and Sterling that was blown off its foundation, but they were rescued and no one was hurt, Russell said.

Power flashes were reported on the west side of the plant as the tornado tracked through the Lawton-Fort Sill area, and more than 1,350 Public Service Co. of Oklahoma customers were without power. More than 400 Comanche County customers were without power as of 9 p.m., while about 1,000 were without power in Grady County.

About 8:05 p.m., the second confirmed tornado was reported seven miles southeast of Davidson, in Tillman County, the weather service said.

Two additional tornadoes were reported, but the meteorologists said late Wednesday that they could not be confirmed. One of those tornadoes was reported about 7:45 p.m. about four miles east of Fletcher in Comanche County. The second was reported about 8:50 p.m. near Grandfield in Tillman County.

Lightning and floods

About 9:30 p.m., lightning strikes caused two simultaneous tank battery fires in Oklahoma City. The first, near NE 6 and Everest Avenue, was quickly extinguished, fire Deputy Chief Marc Woodard said. A second fire at a tank battery farm containing 22 tanks was reported in the 500 block of N Bryant Avenue. No injuries were reported, but 23 people were evacuated from the area of NE 4 to NE 10 between Interstate 35 and Sunnylane Road, Woodard said. The fire was contained and mostly extinguished by 11 p.m.

Northbound lanes of Interstate 235 at NW 50 were flooded late Wednesday, according to television news reports. Live footage showed two vehicles partially submerged on the highway.

As of 10:50 p.m., 1.98 inches of rain was recorded in west Oklahoma City, according to the Oklahoma Mesonet, while 1.90 inches fell at the east site and 1.63 inches was recorded at the north site.

Fewer than 1,000 Oklahoma City customers were without power following the storms, according to the OG&E SystemWatch website.

In Norman, a father and his two children — ages 1 and 7 — were rescued when their vehicle was stuck in high water, fire Deputy Chief Jim Bailey said.

About 9:30 p.m., the family was just west of the intersection of 48th Avenue NW and Robinson Avenue when the vehicle became stuck in about a foot of water on the road. No one was injured, and firefighters gave the family a ride home on a rig, Bailey said.

Baseball-sized hail also was reported with the storms in Cache and Fletcher, which are also in Comanche County. Hailstones the size of ping-pong and golf balls were reported with the storm system in Comanche, Harmon, Jackson and Kiowa counties.

Heavy rainfall also was reported in southwest Oklahoma, which caused flash flooding in some areas.

As of 10:30 p.m., Medicine Park reported 6.56 inches of rain, Apache recorded 4.32 inches, 3.18 inches of rainfall was measured in Chickasha, and 2.56 inches fell on Ninnekah, according to the Mesonet.

Some homes were reported flooded in Medicine Park, Russell said. State Highway 49 was closed due to flooding and roadblocks were set up on local roads, according to the state transportation department.

Rick Smith, warning coordination meteorologist with the National Weather Service, Norman, said, “We saw the supercells develop in southwest Oklahoma, and once they got their act together and really got going, saw lots of large hail reports. We had hail as large as baseballs reported in some areas. We've had at least three tornadoes probably, I don't know the exact number, fortunately no reports of any serious damage or injuries.

“Then the storms that have moved through central Oklahoma have produced a lot of hail and wind, mainly hail, and now we're looking at some flooding. So we've had a little bit of everything for the last seven hours or so.”

The threat for severe weather was expected to continue into the night for some areas of the state, Smith said.

The forecast for Thursday in Oklahoma City is partly cloudy with a high of 50 degrees and an overnight low of 31 degrees, according to the weather service.

CONTRIBUTING: Bryan Painter, Staff Writer

Matt Dinger

Matt Dinger was born and raised in Oklahoma City. He has worked in OPUBCO's News and Information Center since 2006, and has been assigned to the breaking news desk since its formation in fall 2008. He specializes in crime and police reporting. Read more ›