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State recovering from high winds, rainfall

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By John Estus Modified: May 8, 2007 at 6:04 am •  Published: May 8, 2007
Some central Oklahoma residents were bleary-eyed Monday morning after spending hours in tornado shelters the night before.

Heavy storms hit the state late Sunday, packing high winds and in some cases spawning tornadoes. Counties across the state battled flash flooding while cleaning up debris after a weekend of hazardous weather. High water is blamed for one death.

More than 11,000 Oklahoma Gas and Electric Co. customers were without power Monday morning. The Oklahoma Corporation Commission reported about 1,800 power outages across the state at 9 p.m. OG&E had 609 customers and PSO had 1,162 customers without power statewide.

Many of the powerless customers were in south Oklahoma City, where heavy rain caused a roadway leading to a bridge to wash into a creek and overwhelmed storm drains, flooding low-lying streets.

Possible tornadoes
Teams from the National Weather Service were dispatched to several locations Monday to confirm reports of weekend tornadoes and to determine the twisters' forces. There were reports of at least five tornado touchdowns, the National Weather Service said.

Crews surveyed damage from an apparent tornado in Sweetwater in Roger Mills County on Saturday and in Seminole County on Sunday, said Bruce Thoren of the weather service.

In Sweetwater, officials believe a tornado Saturday caused at least $2 million in damage to the school. Most of the buildings around the school were damaged or destroyed, including a multi-purpose building, Floyd Pickering said.

Storms also caused damage in Seminole County, where officials believe a tornado touched down late Sunday.

One woman was trapped in her trailer home Sunday night after strong winds blew the trailer off its foundation near Little. Wind gusts also peeled the roofs off two barns in Seminole County, said Michelann Ooten, spokeswoman for the state Emergency Management Department.

Power lines were pulled down along State Highway 99A, Ooten said. Tornado sirens sounded through the night in Shawnee, where residents headed to shelters as another strong line of storms moved in about 3:30 a.m.

In the northern Lincoln County town of Agra, the lone tornado siren didn't work early Monday when its switch was flipped, said Lincoln County Emergency Management Director Joey Wakefield.

Instead, police and volunteer firefighters drove through town, blaring their sirens to alert about 350 residents.

The tornado siren, apparently hit by lightning, was repaired by daybreak.

Rainfall blamed for death
As residents in storm-ravaged parts of the state worked to clean up after weekend storms, they also had to battle flash flooding. Flooding also was reported in Kay, Lincoln, Rogers, Tulsa, Woodward, and Atoka counties.

Henry H. Fletcher, 71, of Canute died after his car was swept away in high water on a county road two miles west of Canute in Washita County on Sunday night. National Weather Service Oklahoma Climatological Survey

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Javier DeLoera, left, cuts branches of fallen tree limbs in front of a law office at NW 13 and Walker after heavy rains and high winds. Helping are his cousin, Mario DeLoera, center, and Javier DeLoera, Jr., right. By JIM BECKEL, THE OKLAHOMAN
How much fell?
Oklahoma Climatological Survey rainfall totals in inches from 1 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday:

•El Reno: 3.17

•Norman: 2.42

•E Oklahoma City: 2.5

•N Oklahoma City: 2.3

•W Oklahoma City: 2.14

•Shawnee: 2.15

•Spencer: 2.78


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