ENID, Okla. — Early morning thunderstorms surged across Northwest Oklahoma early Friday, downing trees, power poles and small outside structures, while also damaging roofs.
More than 18,000 OG&E Electric Services customers, more than 5,000 in Enid, woke to no power in their homes statewide. Crews were repairing wind damaged lines and by 3:30 p.m. the number of customers without power was down to 5,455, including 2,857 in Enid. To report an outage, call (800) 522-6870.
OG&E's David Kimmel, with corporate communications, said Enid was one of the areas hardest hit by the storms.
"We have several contract crews that are in the Enid area to restore power. I know our crews are out there working, trying to get everything back together," he said. "We had quite a few poles down."
In a 3:50 p.m. update, OG&E said estimated restoration for Enid, Hennessey and Nash could be "by tomorrow night."
"We are mobilizing more crews to assist with restoration efforts," the company said. "We follow a specific plan to restore electric service. Priority is given to facilities like hospitals, police and fire departments. Next, we'll work on those circuits that bring the most people’s power back. Then, we'll move into more neighborhood work to restore isolated outage cases."
The company offered the the following safety advice:
• Be safe and stay away from downed power lines.
• Do not approach crews and utility vehicles in your neighborhood. Doing so could jeopardize your safety and will only delay the restoration process.
• Safety precautions should be followed when using a portable generator.
• Check your homes to be sure it’s able to take power.
• As a safety precaution, do not post personal information such as addresses, account numbers, phone numbers, etc. on OG&E social media channels.
Enid and Garfield County Emergency Management Director Mike Honigsberg said in a post on his agency's Facebook page that the storms caused damage across the area.
"There are power poles that have been broken, there are tree limbs down, a lot of debris everywhere, a lot of fences laid over due to the extremely high winds we had this morning," he said in the post made about 7 a.m.
According to Oklahoma Mesonet weather recording stations, the maximum wind gust recorded in the past 24 hours at the Lahoma station was 71 mph. The Breckinridge station had a maximum of 52 mph, and the Marshall station recorded maximum winds at 81 mph.
Friday's rainfall totals were .98 of an inch for Lahoma, 1.4 inches for Breckinridge, 1.41 inches in Medford, 1.57 inches in Cherokee, 1.41 inches in Alva, 1.3 in Freedom, 1.11 in Fairview and 1.05 inches for Woodward, according to the Mesonet.
Enid Police Department received dozens of reports of damages from the overnight storms.
Trees were reported down across the city.
A small metal building was twisted into a ball and thrown onto power lines between Patton’s Hair Salon and Nicholas Real Estate, in the 300 block of North Van Buren. Crews were replacing broken power poles about 1 p.m. and had northbound traffic on Van Buren narrow down to a single lane.
The railroad lights at 2nd and Garriott also were damaged in the storm.
City officials said storm damage cleanup will begin Monday. Residents can pile storm damage limbs at their residential curb side for pickup. Cleanup effort is expected to last two weeks.
Officials reminded residents when looking into electrical, roof and tree removal projects, to verify potential contractors are licensed and bonded. Prices of jobs should be given to homeowners before work effort begins.
City officials need to inspect jobs to ensure they are up to city code and up to homeowner’s satisfaction.
According to the National Weather Service in Norman, thunderstorms and severe weather are possible through next week but Friday evening are expected to impact areas in the southwestern portion of the state.
"Thunderstorms are expected to continue off and on through next Thursday," according to the NWS Severe Weather Outlook. "A Marginal Risk covers the area west of Alva to Hobart to Archer City, Texas, on Saturday, mainly during the evening. Severe thunderstorms will also be possible on Sunday, but details are still uncertain regarding timing and location."