Damaging winds leave thousands of Oklahomans, including Ardmore residents without power over weekend

Sierra Rains
The Daily Ardmoreite
An OG&E crew member works to restore power following high winds during storms over the weekend. According to OG&E approximately 1,100 crew members were out working early Monday morning to restore power.

Damaging winds ripped across Oklahoma over the weekend, leaving over 69,000 people across the state without power.

Following a storm system that passed through on Friday, 160 people in Northeast Ardmore lost power. High winds hit again on Saturday and Sunday night and as of Monday morning, 85 individuals in Ardmore were still without power. 

While the Carter County Emergency Management Office said there were no reports of significant damage to their office, reports of power outages came flooding into the Oklahoma Gas and Electric company. 

According to a press release from OG&E, power has been restored for 90% of customers with outages following the Saturday night storms. As of 8 a.m. on Monday, less than 12,000 customers were without power, including approximately 2,500 outages from the Sunday night storms. 

On Monday morning, around 1,100 OG&E personnel were out working on restoring power to customers affected by high winds and lightning. Over the weekend, crews replaced 90 poles, 41 crossers and 67 transformers. 

According to the press release, OG&E crews will now be working more in neighborhood areas and backyards. These types of repairs restore power to smaller groups of customers at a time. 

Storm restoration work includes clearing tree limbs that are in or interfering with power lines. After the lines are cleared, vegetation crews will take tree and brush debris from the customer’s yard to the curb. According to OG&E, the disposal of debris due to storms is the customer’s responsibility. 

Those without power from the storms experience a higher risk due to the extreme heat and lack of air conditioning. According to the National Weather Service in Norman, the heat indices in Oklahoma have been in triple digits recently, with the heat index in Ardmore at 109 degrees on Saturday and 104 degrees on Monday. 

Extreme heat and humidity significantly increase the potential for heat related illness, including heat exhaustion and heatstroke. According to OG&E, the company sponsors Cool Zones to offer relief to those without power during excessive heat. 

Libraries, shopping centers, senior centers, churches and other locations across the state offer a place for heat-weary residents to visit during the hottest times of the day. In Ardmore, the Mountain View Mall, Chickasaw Regional Library, Ardmore Public Library, The Salvation Army and the Senior Citizens’ Center are all listed as Cool Zones. 

Individuals can contact (580) 920-1388 to ensure the location or space is open. According to the National Weather Service, winds of 58 mph or higher are possible in a severe thunderstorm and could occur anytime a severe thunderstorm watch or warning is issued. 

During strong thunderstorms, straight line wind speeds can exceed 100 mph. Wind damage typically occurs anytime winds are sustained at 40 to 50 mph. Winds of up to 70 mph were reported during Saturday’s storms. 

The National Weather Service encourages individuals to trim tree branches away from their homes and power lines and secure loose gutters and shutters prior to severe storms passing through. Individuals should also update their emergency kits and include enough food and water to last for three days for each person in their home in the event of a power outage. 

During strong winds, individuals should go inside a sturdy building and stay away from any windows. Individuals are also urged to be safe and stay away from downed power lines and everything they are touching. According to OG&E, individuals should always assume a downed electrical line is electrified.

As of Monday afternoon, OG&E estimates that power should be restored to all Ardmore residents by late Monday night. For a current list of power outages in your area, visit oge.com.