Thunderstorm brings flash flooding, power outages 

Kyle Phillips / The Transcript

Trees knocked down power lines on E. Timberdell Rd. between Reaves Park and the OU Intramural Fields, Sunday, June 9, 2019.

Heavy rains and strong winds swept through Norman Sunday morning, downing trees and power lines.

Alex Zwink, a meteorologist at the National Weather Center in Norman, said wind speeds reached as high as 65 miles per hour.

“There was a 65 mile-per-hour gust recorded in northwest Norman and that was at 9:07 a.m,” he said. “At the airport, it looks like we got a measurement of 63 miles per hour.”

Zwink said nearly an inch-and-a-half of rain fell during the morning storm, bringing the month’s total to over two inches of rainfall already. Last month, record rains pushed May’s total rainfall to over 11 inches.

“With the conditions that we’ve had and all the rain that we’ve had over really the last two to three months, any additional rainfall, especially a lot of rainfall in a short amount of time, can lead to flash flooding,” Zwink said.

“We’re well aware that we are saturated. That’s why the flash flood warnings went out so quickly.”

In addition to flash flooding, thousands of Cleveland County residents reported power outages.

OG&E reported 1,872 outages in Norman Sunday morning and OEC reported 1,113 outages.

Most customers were restored by the afternoon but work continued into the evening, with both providers reporting some outages as of 5 p.m.

As of 9 p.m., OG&E’s power outage map showed that roughly 1,600 customers statewide were still without power, 557 of them in Norman.

Even as power returns, flooding concerns remain.

Zwink said the good news, for the Norman area at least, is that the rain is expected to subside for a few days.

“There’s a little bit of a chance of rain later [Sunday] night … but after [Sunday night] those rain chances move by,” he said. “Really, the next chance for precipitation is Tuesday night and there will be a slight chance of that. Really, it’s going to be pretty nice out for the next few days, so take advantage of that while you can.”

On Friday, Gov. Kevin Stitt announced that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has approved the state's request for disaster assistance for seven Oklahoma counties — Canadian, Creek, Logan, Osage, Ottawa, Rogers, and Washington — which join Muskogee, Tulsa, and Wagoner counties in receiving approval.

Cleveland County has not been added to the list, but, if it were, those benefits would be available to Cleveland County residents and business owners affected by severe storms.

Mack Burke is an investigative reporter and award-winning feature writer and columnist for The Norman Transcript. An OU alumnus, he has lived in Norman since 2003.