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Monday, 11 June 2012 15:55

Giant Hail Damages Oklahoma in Late May Storms

Numerous severe thunderstorms pummeled Oklahoma in late May, a blessing and a curse for an area which desperately needs some rain, but could have done without the fist-size hail smashing car windows. Hailstones as large as 4.25 inches were reported by the National Weather Service on May 29.

Hail damaged the roofs and windows of many homes and broke out car windshields. In Edmond, about 450 cars at Bob Howard Dealership were damaged by the hail.

 

The storms dropped enormous hail on the Oklahoma City area the evening of May 29. The National Weather Service received  reports of softball-sized hail or larger in the Kingfisher area. No deaths were reported but authorities say a handful of people were injured by the large hailstones.

The storms also knocked out power to homes and businesses. A handful of people were injured and wind gusts exceeding 75 mph snapped utility poles, leaving thousands without electricity.

The storm system spawned a weak tornado and hail the size of softballs in northwestern and central Oklahoma.

Governor Mary Fallin on May 30 declared a State of Emergency for 35 Oklahoma counties due to straight line winds, hail, flooding and tornadoes.

Heavy rain flooded streets in Tulsa. A woman drove her car into high water and was stranded when the engine quit. Other drivers came to her aid and pushed the car out of the water.

Hail the size of softballs, high winds and lightning-sparked fires destroyed property and left a mess for many Oklahoma City metro area residents. Nearly 100,000 people lost power in the metro area. Downed power lines caused traffic snags, and high water trapped some people in vehicles. Most of the damage across the state was from hail up to the size of softballs and wind gusts that reached as high as 85 miles per hour.

Hail smashed roof tiles and stained-glass windows on the south side of Christ the King Catholic Church in Nichols Hills, said Patrick Cullen, church business manager. The damage could exceed $600,000, Cullen said. In 2010, hail caused $1.7 million damage to the church.

Emergency Medical Services Authority paramedics responded to 95 calls between 7 and 11 p.m. on May 29 in the Oklahoma City metro area, including injuries from hail, broken glass, flying debris and car accidents.

Eight of those calls were for traumatic injuries. Six people were hit by hail, one had a cut hand and one was hit by a loose road sign that fell as people sought shelter under an overpass.

One person was critically injured in a car wreck when she exited her vehicle and was hit by a vehicle that hydroplaned.

Medics also responded to 14 wrecks directly attributable to the storms, low visibility, sliding through pooled water or disregarding traffic laws at intersections where power was off to traffic lights.

The Oklahoma City Fire Department also handled several rescues, including four people stuck in kayaks in high waters near SW 15 and Meridian Avenue, and two people trapped in a vehicle in high waters at 400 Ann Arbor.

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