Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

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June 11, 2014

Strong storm hits PV hard

bporterfield@pvdemocrat.com — Strong winds, along with heavy rains and hail mixed in, blew into the Pauls Valley area over the weekend in a big way causing a whole variety of damages.

Power outages and high flood waters plagued the area as the strong storm with winds believed to be into the 70 mph range blasted into PV on Saturday night.

Even on Monday much of the community still showed the aftermath of the storm, complete with a sea of leaves and broken branches.

“We’re in recovery mode right now,” Garvin County District 2 Commissioner Shon Richardson said on Monday.

Richardson, who lives a few miles southwest of Pauls Valley, said it appears the storm intensified as it approached Pauls Valley causing much of the worst damage right around here.

“We’ve got a narrow strip about three miles wide where you can really see the damage,” he said.

“Stuff is scattered all over the area from the trees that were damaged.

“It also caused a lot of damage to a lot of homes in the area.”

Many roofs and windows in and around Pauls Valley did fall victim to the unusually strong winds that could at times be a bit unnerving.

There are plenty of specific examples. One is more than 100 windows were knocked out of the county fairgrounds buildings on the northwest side of PV.

For Pauls Valley’s schools the worst of it came at Jefferson Early Learning Center on the east side of town.

No windows were broken at JELC but the window screens did sustain major damage with 3-inch holes likely caused by hail.

“Jefferson got hit pretty hard,” Superintendent Darsha Huckabaa said, adding a large tree did fall on a fence at the school.

“We’re just lucky the storm didn’t break out any windows.”

Also damaged by hail were a number of school vehicles, including a few buses.

“I’ve had all the site principals look over their schools for damages,” Huckabaa said.

An insurance adjuster was expected to arrive on Monday to check out reported damages at any of the schools

Not known for sure is the official cause of all that damage.

There’s many who believe it likely came from strong straight-line winds.

“It looks like the damage from the storm could have been from straight winds, but it could have also been a microburst,” said Bud Ramming, who as Garvin County emergency management director checked much of the area afterward.

According to Ramming, the National Weather Service estimates the storm’s winds to be at least 65 mph and up into the 70s.

“People who know more about this than me think it was straight winds,” he said.

Those strong winds also uprooted large trees as brush piles can now be seen throughout the area, while poles splintered sending power lines sprawling over some of PV’s streets, including parts of state Highway 19.

Not being questioned are the heavy rains, which look to have caused parts of some roads in the county to wash out.

Many believe the area received between 4 and 5 inches of rainfall in a two-hour period during the late Saturday night storm.

On the up side, all that rain does break a dry spell that could have led to a burn ban in the county.

“As of last Thursday we were in a severe drought and qualified for a burn ban; that is until we got the rain,” Ramming said. “All the county received a lot of rain.

“Pauls Valley got the worst of the wind and hail but the entire county got good rain totals.”

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