The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

May 19, 2013

UPDATE: EPD officer 'doing well' after storm injuries

By Robert Barron, Staff Writer
Enid News & Eagle

ENID, Okla. — Enid Police Department Officer Lee Friesendahl was treated and released from St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center Saturday night after his patrol car was struck by debris during a strong windstorm created by a heat burst.

The debris broke the windshield of the Friesendahl's vehicle, while he was in the area of 66th and U.S. 412, said EPD Sgt. Richard Sutton. He said the officer suffered cuts and scrapes, but is doing well.

No injuries were reported in a 10-car pileup Saturday night at 162nd and U.S. 412. Visibility was zero as dirt from fields was kicked up by the strong winds.

Vance Air Force Base recorded wind at 71 mph, according to Honigsberg, and home weather centers across the county said they were recording wind gusts even higher.

The wind sparked at least two minor grass fire near Lahoma and Bison and several power outages in Enid, Hennessey, Drummond, Lahoma and the surrounding countryside. Rural fire departments were able to control the fires. There were several reports of downed power lines and trees in Enid and the county.

Honigsberg said the wind was caused when the temperature jumped from 81 degrees at 8:15 p.m. to 90 degrees by 8:40 p.m. At the same time, Honigsberg said the dew point fell from 70 to 43 degrees. Heat bursts are characterized by changes in atmospheric pressure that creates high wind, rising temperatures and lowering dewpoints.

“Everything went crazy,” he said.

According to Honigsberg, the heat burst created winds in excess of 70 mph. A 67 mph wind gust was recorded at the Lahoma Mesonet site, and wind was gusting over 50 mph continuously south of Lahoma for nearly two hours, based on data from that site

Residents in Enid and the surrounding area should prepare for another round of storms tonight, said Mike Honigsberg, certified director of emergency management for Enid and Garfield County.

Storms were brewing all around Enid at about 3:45 p.m., and Honigsberg said they may continue until 10 p.m. or later.

“There are storms in Woods County, Kingfisher County, Woodward County and all around. The dryline is weaving and it will get dicey here shortly,” Honigsberg said.

A group of storms southwest of Wichita, Kan., have gone tornadic, but will not threaten this area, he said. A tornado also struck in the Oklahoma City and Edmond areas. Storms spotters were reporting debris.