The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

April 9, 2013

Damaging hail, tornadoes, freezing rain possible

Staff and wire reports
Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — National Weather Service says a storm system could bring baseball-sized hail and isolated tornadoes to parts of Oklahoma on Tuesday and freezing rain early Wednesday.

Forecasters say severe storms likely will begin firing late afternoon Tuesday as the front begins to move into the area. The greatest risk for the severe storms is near and east of a line from Seymour, Texas, to Lawton to Yukon to Ponca City.

“Timing is going to be the biggest thing that will dictate our weather possibilities because of the front,” said Mike Honigsberg, certified director of Enid/Garfield County Emergency Management. “If, by chance, the front passes through the area before strong storms can develop, our severe threat will diminish dramatically. Winds will shift to the northwest at 25-45 mph with some higher gusts. It will rain and later tonight we’ll have a good chance for some freezing precipitation.

“If the front isn’t as quick and storms form out ahead of the dryline, it will get interesting. I think everyone has seen some sort of forecast this morning, so that said, stay weather aware today and we’ll deal with what nature throws at us.”

Areas west of that line, including Woodward and Altus, are at a slight risk for severe weather.

Forecasters say the storms could bring 2-inch-diameter hail, wind gusts of up to 80 mph and isolated tornadoes.

A cold front will follow the storm system into the state, and temperatures are expected to drop well below freezing in western Oklahoma. Forecasters say a mix of sleet and freezing rain is possible in some areas early Wednesday.

NWS in Norman issued a winter weather advisory for western Oklahoma, including Enid and the area, and parts of northern Texas.

The advisory is in effect from midnight until 1 p.m. Wednesday and is for freezing rain and sleet.

The main impacts include freezing rain and sleet likely to accumulate on elevated surfaces. Power lines and tree limbs may break under the weight of ice and the force of strong northwest winds, according to the advisory.

Power outages are possible throughout the advisory area but will be most likely from western North Texas into central and north-central Oklahoma. Sleet could be more dominate in western Oklahoma resulting in slippery road conditions, especially on bridges and overpasses.