Residents of Grandfield, southwestern Oklahoma farming town, spent Saturday cleaning up after a compact storm carrying a big punch pretty well shut the town down. Hail the size of baseballs thrashed the wheat crop just days before harvest, damaging hundreds of homes and vehicles when the storm rolled through Friday evening.
City Manager Randy Clark said residents were repairing windows and roofs, and insurance agents and power line repairmen were working through the day Saturday.
“We just got clobbered,” Clark said. “I've seen hail storms before but this was the most damaging storm I've ever seen here in town.”Clark said power lines came down west of town at the airport, and one woman was injured when the storm rolled through about 6 p.m. Friday.
The National Weather Service reported the small but ferocious storm developed just 20 minutes before hitting the town.
The storm caused significant damage to Randlett, in Cotton County, before heading south and east into northern Texas.
Tillman County Sheriff Bobby Whittington, who lives in Grandfield, said he was not at home at the time of the storm but four of his family's vehicles were likely totaled.
Whittington said the storm blew the roof off a local diner and destroyed three of his sheriff's department vehicles.
Wheat farmers may have suffered the worst damage, though, with the giant hail obliterating most of the area's crop in a matter of minutes. The wheat was especially susceptible to storm damage because it was nearly mature, with harvest scheduled to kick off Tuesday.
“It was a pretty damn hard blow to a farming community that's trying to come back from a devastating drought last year,” Whittington said.
Register/become a supporter
Your support is crucial for our survival. It makes this project fully self-sustainable and keeps us independent and focused on the content we love to create and share.
You'll receive your ad-free account for 20x faster browsing experience, clean interface without any distractions, ability to post comments without prior editorial check, all our desktop and mobile applications (current and upcoming) ad-free and with the full set of features available, a direct line of communication and much more. See all options.