Strong winds fuel Okla. City wildfires, hundreds without power

Grass fires started popping up across the city, with fire crews responding to eight grass fires in just a few hours


The Oklahoman, Oklahoma City

Strong winds knocked down power lines, led to accidents on roadways and fueled wildfires that sparked across the Oklahoma City metro Wednesday afternoon.

As of 8:10 p.m. Wednesday, more than 650 Oklahoma Gas and Electric Co. customers in Oklahoma City were without power. Thousands of customers dealt with power outages throughout the day, including more than 3,000 reported without power in the Nichols Hills area during the afternoon, according to OG&E's System Watch website.

In Oklahoma City, fire crews have responded to 21 calls to check power lines as strong winds blew. Officials said the calls may have been for arcing, sagging or power lines downed from the wind.

On Interstate 35 near Britton Road, a light pole blew down and struck a passing tractor-trailer, fire officials said.

Just after 5 p.m., a traffic light buckled under the pressure of strong winds near Sheridan and Robinson avenues. The top section of the traffic light bent backwards and struck the ground, just a few feet from a parked vehicle.

Wind gusts above 40 mph have been reported in the Oklahoma City area, while wind gusts above 60 mph have been reported in northwestern parts of the state, according to the Mesonet weather network.

In Del City, fire department officials reported losing part of the roof of Fire Station 2, near SE 15 and Sunnylane Road. Other wind damage, including awnings blown over, have been reported across the metro.

Strong winds have also created a dangerous situation as grass fires started popping up across Oklahoma City Wednesday afternoon. Fire crews have responded to eight grass fires since just after 4:05 p.m. A large grass fire was reported near SE 149 and Hiwassee Road.

Fire officials said the main fire was under control just before 6:25 p.m. and that firefighters continued to search for hot spots. About 10 acres are thought to have burned in the fire.

On social media, residents reported fish being blown from the water of Lake Hefner and seen on dry land.

In Moore, police shut down a portion of Telephone Road at SW 17 due to a gas station awning teetering back and forth in the wind. 

Windy conditions are likely to persist throughout the evening hours Wednesday, the National Weather Service reported. Much of the state is under a high wind warning, which is expected to expire overnight.

Strong winds are also expected in Oklahoma City Thursday, with a high wind speed up to 26 mph and wind gusts as high as 37 mph, according to the weather service.

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©2019 The Oklahoman

McClatchy-Tribune News Service
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