Severe storms batter OK, TX

Severe storms caused damage in Oklahoma and Texas.

BY SUSAN KIM | LAWTON, Okla. | March 5, 2004

A line of severe storms that caused widespread damage Thursday in both Oklahoma and Texas.

The damage began with flooding in Del City, a suburb of Oklahoma City, said Ooten, as the storms swept from the south central part of the state through northeastern Oklahoma, said Michelann Ooten, spokesperson for the Oklahoma Office of Civil Emergency Management.

The small town of Chattanooga, population 432 people, saw some storm damage from high winds.

There was "major flooding" in Kingfisher city and Kingfisher County, said Ooten. A shelter opened at the First Baptist Church in Kingfisher.

Floodwaters rose so quickly in Kingfisher the fire department had to deploy boats to rescue residents. The Oklahoma Highway Patrol's lake patrol also performed water rescues.

In Texas, the small town of Myrtle Springs was looking at blown-down trees, barns and sheds, said a member of the First Baptist Church of Myrtle Springs.

The First Baptist Church in Edgewood, a neighboring town, was open as a shelter, said the Rev. Greg Womack, minister of music.

In Archer County, in north-central Texas, there were more than 100 reports of structural damage, ranging from minor to major, said William Ayres, spokesperson for the Texas Division of Emergency Management.

It was not yet known Friday morning how much of the damage was to residential property, said Ayres.

"I would anticipate we'll be receiving damage reports today from all over the state," he said.

The storms spawned heavy rain, high winds and tornadoes that appeared to hit wide areas of both states.

Mobile homes were overturned, roofs were ripped off, and traffic was snarled throughout the area. Three deaths all traffic-related and all in Oklahoma were attributed to the storms.

Several twisters were sighted in Texas, and straight-line gusts of 80 mph strong enough to overturn tractor-trailers were clocked.

The communities of Tuscola, Myrtle Springs and Fruitvale all reported local damage in Texas. The National Weather Service reported tornado touchdowns between San Angelo and Abilene, east of Mineral Wells, north of Springtown and parts of Denton County.

A Church World Service Disaster Response and Recovery Liaison was assessing damages.

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