Severe Storms, Floods Cause Problems In Oklahoma

Storms overnight Wednesday (July 24) brought heavy rain and gusty winds across the River Valley.

Some of the strongest damage was reported throughout parts of LeFlore County.  In Spiro a large tree fell over, taking down part of a chain-link fence on S. Alaska Street.  Downed tree limbs were also reported on N. Main St. and Lakeview Drive.

“It rained pretty hard,” said Officer Jaclyn Emmert with the Spiro Police Department.

LeFlore County Emergency Management said tornado sirens in Wister went off overnight as well due to a malfunction caused by a lightning strike.

Several cities in LeFlore  County, including Spiro and Heavener, reported power outages and minor flooding.

Power outages also impacted thousands early Wednesday morning.  At one point power was knocked out for nearly two thousand people across Fort Smith.  In Northwest Arkansas SWEPCO, however, was not reporting any outages.  Power was also mostly restored to residents in the River Valley by 6 a.m. Wednesday.

Officials said the storm brought a lot of rain to the Talequah area causing the Town Branch Creek to rise and one family to be evacuated from their home. Scott Pettus with the Talequah/Cherokee County Emergency Management said the small creek rises quickly.

“Last night with the five inch rainfall that happened in about an hour this creek rose very quickly, and it did get up into a residence here on the Basin Street area,” said Pettus.

Talequah police and firefighters helped a mother and three children escape from the rising waters for the night. They were able to return home this morning.

The storms came after strong winds and lightning swept through Tulsa, Oklahoma causing damage throughout the city.

More than 105,000 were left without power in Tulsa, according to our CBS Affiliate KOTV.  The National Weather Service reported winds in excess of 70-80 mph there. Crews worked throughout the night in the Tulsa area cleaning up downed tree limbs and knocked over power lines.

Firefighters say lightning also caused a fire overnight that damaged the roof of the Union Public Schools 8th Grade Center in Broken Arrow.  

Another Oklahoma man said his car was struck by lightning late Tuesday night, knocking out his rear-windshield and sending a surge of electricity through his Chevy Sonic.

Tulsa Electric officials said because of storm damage to its transmission lines, it may be several days before all service is completely restored.

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