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Severe storms impact southern Oklahoma, more expected Thursday night

Sierra Rains
srains@ardmoreite.com

Severe storms have continued to impact southern Oklahoma as the state moves farther into the spring months. After seeing large amounts of hail Monday night, the area can expect more severe weather to roll in Thursday evening.

National Weather Service Meteorologist Phil Ware said reports of large hail, up to baseball size, came in from across the area Monday night. Some of the largest hail in southern Oklahoma was centered around Garvin County.

“We had a couple reports of hail three inches in diameter. Even parts of Carter County had multiple reports of hail two inches in diameter,” Ware said. “So you’re getting up over the size of golf ball sized hail there so that’s pretty impressive.”

Carter County Emergency Management Director Paul Tucker said hail at least the size of a golf ball was reported in Wilson, Healdton and Fox. However, the damage remained minimal.

“The larger the hail gets, the more destructive the potential is,” Ware said. “Quarter-sized hail could potentially damage— it would definitely hurt to be outside in and it could damage your car, but probably not going to break windows or do anything like that.”

Large amounts of hail were also reported throughout Love County, with wind gusts reaching over 70 mph near Burneyville and 50 mph in Marietta.

The Red River Valley Rural Electric Association reported over 400 people in western Love County impacted by power outages. Straight-line winds up to 72 mph left behind at least six broken poles and numerous downed trees and debris throughout the area.

Areas with larger sizes of hail such as Garvin County saw some damage as far as broken windshields and windows.

“Once you start getting up to baseball, tennis ball sized hail— which is what we saw in portions of the area yesterday, you can start busting through windshields or windows in households,” Ware said.

Ware said the next threat for severe weather in southern Oklahoma will be confined to the evening and overnight hours on Thursday. “We’re expecting a cold front to push through the area and probably see a lot of storms along the front,” he said.

The conditions will be less favorable for large hail than with previous storm systems, but there will still be a potential for hail and damaging wind gusts.

“It’s hard to ever say there’s no chance for tornadoes but it doesn’t look like that’s going to be the main issue Thursday night, mostly the hail and wind threat,” Ware said.

Once the cold front passes, southern Oklahoma should be clear for the rest of the weekend. Ware said meteorologists are expecting to see near record low temperatures beginning Friday morning.

“When the high pressure settles in behind the front and winds drop off, it’ll make conditions favorable for temperatures to drop pretty quickly Friday night,” Ware said. “So we could see some pretty cool weather Saturday morning with lows in the 40s.”