The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

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May 11, 2013

Storm stories


ENID, Okla. — Clarence Maly

We do live in Tornado Alley, but tornadoes aren’t the only type of threatening weather trained storm spotters watch for. Clarence Maly, Waukomis fire chief, remembers a specific incident with severe weather of a different nature.

“The one I remember was when Lahoma and Drummond got hit by the hail storm,” said Maly of the 1994 event.

This particular thunderstorm had very strong winds and unloaded a large amount of hail over the Lahoma and Drummond areas.

“It was like somebody dropped a bomb,” said Maly. “No windows, no doors. It beat those houses to pieces.”

Maly also remembers the tornado that hit Carrier and, like Honigsberg, he experienced the wrath a storm can unleash even after the tornado threat is gone.

Maly was involved in the search and rescue effort after the tornado had passed.

“We get to town and a lot of power lines are down,” said Maly. “So we were doing on-foot door-to-door rescues.”

Maly said he and his team found an elderly woman who was trapped in her storm cellar after her house had been shifted off its foundation. To get her to an ambulance they had to carry her, because no vehicle could get through the streets.

“We had to carry her about half a mile. We were carrying her and then a hail storm with hail the size of golf balls hit,” said Maly.

The team quickly sought cover in a nearby damaged home and waited out the hail storm before taking the woman the remainder of the distance to the ambulance.

Maly and his team also were storm spotting a few years ago when they were able to witness a tornado near Bison and follow it. That tornado left behind very little damage.

“Garfield County is pretty fortunate. We’ve got a pretty good crew,” said Maly. “I can make a phone call and have a 25-man team ready to go wherever you want in about 20 minutes.”

A large number of the emergency responders in Garfield County are volunteers.

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