High winds tore the roof off an apartment building and snapped trees and power poles in Norman, and hail the size of tennis balls fell in Oklahoma City on Tuesday evening as a severe storm swept through central Oklahoma.
Norman Fire Deputy Chief Jim Bailey said wind damage was widespread as far north as Rock Creek Road and as far south as Lindsey Street.
“We are going to have roofs damaged, lots of power lines down, we've got multiple trees and limbs down, condenser units blown off of roofs,” Bailey said.
Bailey said only one injury was reported.
“That was a telephone pole that came down and hit a vehicle,” Bailey said. “That person had a laceration on his head, but he will be OK.”
OG&E listed about 33,000 of its customers without power Tuesday evening in Norman. Much of the city was left in the dark.
The wind tore the roof off a building at the Parkland Apartments, 201 Woodcrest Drive, leaving dozens of people homeless. The American Red Cross is providing those in the 20 apartments affected with temporary housing, officials said.
Brandy Parker lives on the first floor of the building that lost its roof.
“There was a big strong wind, and it just blew the roof right off,” Parker said.
Mark Austin, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Norman, said the damage in Norman was likely from straight line winds associated with the storm.
“We definitely had some gusts to 70 miles per hour measured by the Norman mesonet,” Austin said. “The hail was mostly golf ball size, but we did have a report of tennis ball-sized hail at Lake Hefner.”
Oklahoma City residents reported hail damage to vehicles and roof and siding damage to homes, but officials said there were no reports of major damage from the storm.
Birthe and Bob Flexner rode out the storm in their home in central Norman.
“We could just stand here and hear the trees crashing,” Bob Flexner said.
One tree in their backyard ripped power lines off the side of their house, and another one crashed into their greenhouse.
Norman police Lt. Gary Shelton said officials were struggling to keep up with the volume of calls to 911.
“Dispatch has been flooded with phone calls, mostly about downed power lines and trees,” Shelton said.