The Woodward News

April 18, 2013

Apparent tornadoes touch down in SW Oklahoma


Woodward News

Woodward, Okla. —

LAWTON, Okla. (AP) — As many as six tornadoes touched down in Comanche County and Lawton in southwestern Oklahoma on Wednesday, causing minor damage to a Goodyear tire plant and trapping four people inside a mobile home that got knocked off its foundation, authorities said.

No injuries were reported. Comanche County spokesman Jacob Russell said the mobile home was blown over at Elgin, about 20 miles northeast of Lawton.

The Goodyear plant that was damaged was in west Lawton, Russell said.

"An outbuilding at Goodyear has been destroyed, as well as roof damage to the plant. A number of power lines have been reported down," he said.

Russell said the tornadoes began touching down about 4 p.m. and several were seen both south and north of Lawton, but that none struck heavily populated areas.

"Fortunately there is a lot of agricultural area out there and farm land," Russell said.

National Weather Service forecaster Cheryl Sharpe in Norman said the tornadoes had not yet been confirmed.

Flooding was becoming a concern late Wednesday. The Oklahoma Department of Transportation said Oklahoma 49 in Medicine Park on the northern Lawton city line was closed due to high water, and Grady County Emergency Management Director Dale Thompson said flooding was feared in the Chickasha area, though no roads were closed.

Public Service Company of Oklahoma reported about 1,200 power outages in the Chickasha area while about 8,500 outages were reported by Oklahoma Gas and Electric in the Oklahoma City metro area.

Keli Cain, a spokeswoman for the Oklahoma State Department of Emergency Management, said no injuries were reported elsewhere as the storm moved southwest to northeast across Oklahoma.

The National Weather Service issued several tornado warnings in southwestern Oklahoma counties as the storm system moved through the area Wednesday afternoon and early evening and reported up to baseball-sized hail and 60 mph wind gusts in western Oklahoma.