Storm startles Oklahoma

BY STEVE GUST | Anadarko, OK | October 24, 2000


Oklahoma, suffering for months with the effects of a severe drought, was given a rude wet awakening Sunday night with as much

as 10 inches of rain falling in a six-eight hour time period.

Not only that, but the Oklahoma City area also had one of its first tornadoes since a deadly monster F-5 twister hit the Oklahoma

City area May 3, 1999. This milder tornado, an F-1, dipped down for a brief time period near an Oklahoma City shopping mall.

Albert Ashwood, Oklahoma director of emergency management, says the twister destroyed one house and left damage in four

other homes. The tornado, hitting at about 7 p.m., also damaged a Wards automotive center near the mall. No employees or

customers were in the center at the time.

Others, with the memory of the 1999 twister still fresh, weren't taking any chances and quickly went Oklahoma City metro shelters.

Once the all clear was given, they went home.

"The big problem wasn't the tornado but the water," Ashwood said. "We've had lots of flash flooding problems there. We're

assessing the problem right now."

Most severely affected was Anadarko, a community of about 6,500, located 40 miles southwest of Oklahoma City. About 80

residents were housed by the American Red Cross overnight.

"We're not sure if they were sheltered because of damage to their homes or if they were stranded by water while in their

automobiles," Ashwood said.

Meteorologist Frank Johnson estimated 10 inches of rain falling in Anadarko Sunday night. In Oklahoma City, a metro area that

went without rain for all of August and most of September, there was six inches of rain reported at a gauge near a ballpark in

downtown Oklahoma, Johnson said.

Power outages were also sporadic in the Oklahoma City area Sunday. Most notably affected was a television station, KWTV-CBS,

which was knocked off the air for more than three hours.

Some, not heeding the warnings, were caught on the road driving. Several motorists were stuck in high waters. Norman, a college

community south of Oklahoma, reported flooding over the night as well. "There has been some infrastructure damage to this point,"

Ashwood said.

On Monday, with some creeks overflowing, flooding remained in Anadarko with some businesses evacuated. Other flash flooding

was also being reported in Anadarko's Caddo County. School was cancelled in Anadarko today by rising waters which making

some roads impassable.


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