Severe storms hit Oklahoma City on Saturday, trapping people in cars and knocking out power for thousands after pelting far southwest Oklahoma with hail the size of baseballs.
A tornado watch covering much of the state had expired by about 11 p.m., though a severe thunderstorm watch was expected to remain in place south and northeast of the metropolitan area, including Cleveland County, until 3 a.m.
More severe weather is possible Sunday afternoon in central and eastern Oklahoma, said John Pike, a spokesman for the National Weather Service, Norman.
Authorities in Enid said a cattle trough tossed by winds in excess of 70 mph could be behind an accident that injured a police officer as he drove in his cruiser.
“We're not sure exactly what hit his car – we think a cattle trough hit his car and shattered the side windows, causing him to lose control of the vehicle,” said Mike Honigsberg, the emergency manager for Enid and Garfield County. “He was already driving in really high winds.”
The officer was taken to a local hospital after the accident, which occurred about 9 p.m. near 66th Street and U.S. Highway 412.
Strong winds whipped into Bethany as storms moved into the Oklahoma City metropolitan area about 8:45 p.m.
An Oklahoma City police officer was trapped in a squad car after wind gusts toppled utility poles near NW 150 and N Pennsylvania Avenue. Members of the Oklahoma City Fire Department worked to free the officer and several others who were trapped on Pennsylvania in their vehicles. The road was shut down between NW 160 and the John Kilpatrick Turnpike/Memorial Road.
The storms dropped baseball-sized hail in southwest Oklahoma on Saturday evening as an unstable air mass hung over the state, said meteorologist Ken Gallant with the weather service.
People reported golf ball- to baseball-sized hail in an area from Altus in Jackson County, up through Hobart in the adjacent Kiowa County, Gallant said.
People posed with palms full of large hail, and posted pictures to the Norman-based forecast office's Facebook page as the storms moved through the area.
Much of Oklahoma was under a tornado watch into the night Saturday.
The weather service reported a cluster of severe storms moving over Kiowa, Washita and Caddo counties about 7:45 p.m.
Storms with gusts between 45 and 50 mph had moved through Canadian County near El Reno about 8:15 p.m. Saturday.
Gallant warned that severe weather, including tornadoes, are a possibility with a large, unstable air mass over much of the state and advised that residents should monitor weather through the evening.
The weather service reported tornado outbreaks in Kansas and Nebraska as early as 6 p.m.