Flooding, power outages left by storms

Saturday, August 28th 2004, 9:49 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Severe thunderstorms knocked out power to nearly 4,000 customers as they churned across western and northern Oklahoma, authorities said.

Between 3,500 and 4,000 customers in western and northern Oklahoma lost power, but all electricity was restored by early Saturday, Oklahoma Gas & Electric Co. officials said.

Storms packing lightning, torrential rainfall, strong winds and hail moved slowly across the state into the night on Friday.

The heavy rain prompted the issuance of a flood watch issued for 21 counties until early Saturday. Garfield County, which had as many as 1,300 customers without power, saw 3 to 5 inches of rain fall on Friday.

The storms formed along an unusually strong cold front. The boundary should hold temperatures down into the 70s and 80s for the next few days, making this August one of the coolest in recent memory, forecasters say.

``This is another one of those fronts that in a more typical year might have a hard time making it through the state,'' National Weather Service forecaster Erin Maxwell said.

``This whole summer, we have been getting those fronts ... and that is what has contributed to our cooler temperatures.''

After the boundary passes late Saturday, highs in the low to middle 80s will be common on Sunday. That's well below the low 90s more typical for August in Oklahoma.

``This front won't be as cold as the one we had a few weeks ago, but it has some cool air behind it,'' Maxwell said.

Derek Arndt, acting state climatologist for the Oklahoma Climatological Survey, said traveling outside Oklahoma during the month robbed him of being able to enjoy one of the nicest Augusts in recent memory.

``I picked the wrong time to leave,'' he said.