High Winds Topple Power Poles

Saturday, February 24th 2007, 3:00 pm
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) A storm system that pushed through Oklahoma early Saturday brought powerful winds that destroyed two mobile homes and toppled power poles, knocking out power to more than 10,000 homes.

Two mobile homes were destroyed and 20 sustained minor damage when straight-line winds between 30 and 40 mph moved through Spiro about 10 a.m. Saturday, according to the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management. Three people suffered minor injuries, and a shelter was opened at the Spiro Senior Citizens Center, ODEM spokeswoman Michelann Ooten said.

Oklahoma Gas & Electric, the state's largest electric utility, reported more than 10,000 homes were without power Saturday afternoon.

The largest outages were 1,900 in Durant, 1,370 in Mannsville and 1,200 in Norman, according to the utility's Web site.

Northbound lanes of Interstate 35 were shut down briefly in southern Oklahoma after high winds overturned a pickup truck with a travel trailer, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol reported. No injuries were reported.

Three lanes of Interstate 44 also were shut down Saturday afternoon after a tractor-trailer overturned, the highway patrol reported.

The winds, with gusts reported up to 60 mph on Saturday, kicked up dust that limited visibility for motorists.

"The dust in northern and northwest parts of the state are causing some visibility problems," said OHP Lt. Pete Norwood. "Anywhere it's flat, really."

Saturday's high winds trailed a powerful late-winter storm that moved through the state late Friday and early Saturday, said Jennifer Palucki, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

"Once that dryline pushed through early this morning, these are the winds that followed it," Palucki said Saturday.

Sustained winds Saturday were between 30 and 40 mph, with gusts up to 60 mph, she said.

On the back side of the system, light snow moved into colder air across northwestern Oklahoma, raising concerns about blowing snow.