Tue March 18, 2003
Severe Weather Pounds Southwest Oklahoma
Lawton, Ok. – Weather spotters were out in force the afternoon of March 17 as conditions came together for the late winter severe weather scenerio. And they were not disappointed as funnel clouds formed from near Hobart in Kiowa County to just east of Lawton in Comanche County.
Television station KSWO captured live pictures of the tornado forming from the storm clouds near its tower on State Highway 7 east of Lawton's city limits in its weather coverage that lasted several hours. That storm went on to produce hail that grew to golfball and baseball size as it headed into central Oklahoma.
Some barn and house damage was reported in Kiowa County from the severe weather and minor damage was reported elsewhere but no word was received of any injuries.
The safety experts remind us to be prepared with a rehearsal of our severe weather plans as the spring storm season is here. The best advice: In a building, go to an interior room, avoid windows and get under a heavy object such as a desk, covering your head with pillows. In a vehicle, pull over and get in a building or a ditch for shelter.
The City of Lawton website has information about shelters available for motorists when severe weather strikes. Doug Wells who heads up Lawton's Emergency Information Services area noted the search was on for a shelter on the west side as the former location, Eisenhower Jr. High's basement area, had been closed off due to the presence of mold. Wells said a March 12 severe weather tabletop exercise went well for city officials who were trying to trouble-shoot for problems that might be encountered during a disaster.