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Two tornadoes reported as front sweeps state

From staff reports Modified: March 2, 2008 at 10:23 pm •  Published: March 2, 2008

Two tornadoes have been reported this evening as a strong cold front passes through the state, igniting thunderstorms along the way.

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol reported a tornado touched down south of Manchester in Grant County shortly after 5 p.m. Troopers said numerous power lines are down and there are reports a barn was destroyed.

State Highway 132 has been closed at State Highway 11 due to the downed power lines in the area, the patrol reported. It is unlikely the power lines will be cleared before Monday. Manchester is near the Kansas state line northeast of Alva.

Television footage showed a tornado in northern Blaine County that passed near the communities of Carleton and Southard. The tornado caused hay bales to roll through fields and damage to a barn.

It also downed "a couple of power lines on a county road" but didn't cause much more damage, Blaine County Sheriff's Deputy Adam Austin said.

"It's just more of a scare than anything else, really," he said.

The Highway Patrol also reported Wood Road in Garfield County was shut down about 6:30 p.m. because of downed power lines.

Tornado sirens were sounded in Oklahoma City about 8 p.m. Sunday, as National Weather Service meteorologists noticed conditions capable of producing tornadoes.

"Observations from Doppler radar showed a thunderstorm capable of producing a tornado moving into Oklahoma City," Forrest Mitchell, a weather service meteorologist said.

"An area of circulation was indicated and the warning was issued. Fortunately, the circulation diminished drastically, and we were able to cancel the warning.

"Storms are not things, they are rapidly developing processes."

Chris Sohl, another meteorologist in Norman, said the official number of tornado touchdowns has yet to be determined, although he didn't doubt the veracity of the reports in Blaine and Grant counties.

He said the storm system that spawned the twisters also produced high winds and hail that caused "scattered damage" along the front.

Such a storm system "is not all that odd, but this early in March, sometimes it's a trick to get enough moisture up here for (atmospheric) instability," Sohl said.

This time of year, he said, "you start to get enough moisture in the area for storms, but you're still in the winter months and can drag in some cold air as well."

He said a cold front entering the state from the west is a primary cause of the storms. That front will drop temperatures into the 30s in most of Oklahoma on Monday, after highs reached the 70s and 80s in most of the state on Saturday.

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