Add a powerful downburst to the list of calamities to hit Norman in the past few years. If you’re keeping score, Norman has experienced wildfires, floods, tornadoes, a couple of ice storms, a snowstorm and an earthquake.
Tuesday evening’s thunderstorm, termed a downburst by the National Weather Service, packed winds in excess of 70 miles per hour. It ripped roofs off homes, toppled trees and powerlines and pushed fences down. Hail was reported from a quarter-inch to golf-ball size.
An estimated 33,000 OG&E customers lost power. Another 9,000 from OEC. Downtown took it hard, with power off for nearly 18 hours. Businesses couldn’t open. Our printing press was silent and the courthouse never opened Wednesday.
The cooler temperatures and rain were welcome, but it came too fast for the streets and storm sewers to absorb it. Streets around campus were curb-high in storm water.
But just like the other weather episodes, we could hear the friends with their chainsaws clearing the debris from roads and their neighbors’ yards. It often takes just such a storm to bring out the neighborliness in all of us.