Tornadoes, hail cause damage across Oklahoma
Towns throughout Oklahoma are recovering after a severe storm system Sunday brought tornadoes, heavy rain, damaging winds, baseball-sized hail and flash-flooding.
As of Monday midday, seven tornadoes had been confirmed, while five additional suspected tornadoes await assessment and verification, according to the National Weather Service.
How many Oklahoma tornadoes have been confirmed?
Preliminary data from the National Weather Center in Norman said tornadoes touched down in the following counties:
- Kiowa County: Briefly hit by a tornado with "swirls visible at the surface," according to meteorologists.
- Caddo County: Recorded a tornado near Anadarko. Its winds reached a speed of 62 miles per hour.
- Grady County: Recorded a tornado two miles south of Verden. Its intensity has yet to be determined.
- Oklahoma County: A tornado was recorded where tree damage was seen near Harrah Road and Wilshire Road.
- Lincoln County: Reported tree damage near the Turner Turnpike near Warwick.
- Pottawatomie County: Two tornadoes were reported — one near McLoud and one near Johnson. The tornadoes reportedly damaged barns and trees.
"We're investigating the details on those," said Randy Bowers, a meteorologist at the National Weather Center in Norman. "Some of them aren't very clear if there was any damage, and some of it's just visual observations. But hopefully we can have some more detailed information coming up."
Were there more tornadoes?
Preliminary reports from the National Weather Service Forecast Office in Tulsa also said there were five suspected tornadoes being surveyed, awaiting confirmation, in the following counties:
- Wagoner County: Reported damage to buildings and power poles in Coweta.
- Delaware County: Picked up suspected tornadic activity on radar.
- Muskogee County: A trained spotter reported a rope formation illuminated by lightning near Webbers Falls.
- Okmulgee County: Damaging winds and rain might have reached tornadic levels near Beggs.
- Cherokee County: The possibility of a tornado touchdown has been suggested as well.
"The survey team is out, looking at the different sites where we think a tornado may have occurred, so I can't really confirm the total number just yet," said Joe Sellers, a meteorologist at the Tulsa National Weather Service location. "But we're pretty certain about the one in Coweta. They're just covering so much ground that I'm not sure about a timeline for when the information will be coming in."
In addition, the severe weather system also brought hail storms to different areas throughout Oklahoma.
- Cleveland County: Baseball-sized hail shattered windows and dented cars in Norman, just 20 miles south of Oklahoma City.
- McClain County: The neighboring town of Blanchard recorded hail two inches in diameter.
- Kiowa County: Damaging winds and hail were also reported in Roosevelt.
- Jackson County: Altus Air Force Base recorded high winds and hail damage as well.
- Osage County: Golf ball-sized hail was also recorded southeast of Ponca City.
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Will Oklahoma see more tornadoes Tuesday?
Damage is still being assessed in various counties, but meteorologists warn severe weather could strike again Tuesday night into Wednesday morning.
"It's looking like probably the worst of the severe weather would actually be focused a little bit northwest of us," Bowers said. "It's not that we wouldn't see any at all here in central Oklahoma, but it's a stronger chance up in Kansas, and then in northwestern Oklahoma."
Severe weather is not uncommon during a seasonal transition, but Oklahoma typically sees it during April and May, the late springtime months, and not fall. The unusually hot summer and uncharacteristically warmer start to autumn led to "a secondary transitional peak," according to Bowers.
"Usually we end up in a scenario throughout the summer where we do have the heat, the buildup, and a lot of times the weather pattern's not very active at all," Bowers said. "But it's when we start getting into the transition season for fall where we still have an opportunity where we can have severe thunderstorms."