Strong southwesterly and westerly winds have developed across Oklahoma. Sustained winds of 25 to 35 mph, with gusts approaching 50 mph are expected through the afternoon and tonight.
This follows a stormy night Wednesday in which the weather service's offices in Norman, Tulsa and Shreveport, La., issued at least 14 tornado warnings for parts of Oklahoma by 11 p.m. Only one twister was reported by that time.
An off-duty Emergency Medical Service Authority paramedic in Tulsa was injured Wednesday in another apparent weather-related accident. EMSA spokeswoman Tina Wells said 23-year-old Matt Ruskoski had just finished his ambulance shift when he stopped to render aid at a wreck on the Broken Arrow Expressway about 6:40 a.m.
Wells said Ruskoski saw a vehicle hydroplane in front of him and stopped to check on the condition of the motorists. Moments later, Wells said, a small pickup careened across the slick road and skidded into the first car, causing it to hit Ruskoski.
He suffered a broken tibia and soft tissue damage to his right knee.
At 1 p.m. today, Oklahoma Gas & Electric Co. reported 8,000 customers without power, including the following cities and towns: Ardmore, Durant, Healdton, Mannsville, Milburn, Muldrow, Muskogee, Tishomingo and Warner.
Emergency operations center activated
The renovated underground state emergency operations center has been activated. It's the nerve center for state agencies responding to manmade or natural disasters.
Department employees are traveling to areas, including Muldrow and Hannah, that have been hit hard by this week's storms and flooding, said Michelann Ooten, spokeswoman for the state Emergency Management Department. Also helping are staff of the state Transportation Department, Oklahoma Corporation Commission and Oklahoma Highway Patrol.