LAWTON, Okla. – It finally rained in Lawton, but with it came lots of damaging winds. The storm swept through around 11 p.m. and though it did not last long, it stayed around long enough to destroy a planned professional building under construction on "C" St. downtown.
The winds also knocked down power poles, leaving hundreds of residents in the dark. The damage was not caused by a tornado, just straight line winds, but they were destructive.
Several Lawton residents say that they had been praying for rain for months to break this drought. They were glad to receive some relief. They just did not expect the high winds to do what they did.
"The lights blinked and then it sounded like a bomb went off," said Lawton resident, Augusta Gladney. "So it hit and went off again. So I said 'What's going on?' so all the lights were off then."
Strong winds knocked over power lines on Washington St. between 11th and 16th across the street from where Gladney lives, shutting off power to the neighborhood. Some residents feared for their safety inside, hearing the massive damage winds were doing outside.
"I was very scared, because you don't know whether to run or be still. It's dark out here. All your power's gone. So you just wait it out and hope for the best," said resident, Kenneth Burnett.
They lucked out, no big damage in their neighborhood. But the news was not so good in downtown Lawton. The storm blew in the front window of the K&M Satellite building. Elsewhere, the storm obliterated what was to be a professional building. Mark Cox of Cox Construction assessed the damage; almost 2 months of work, gone.
Cox did not want to talk on camera, but said the havoc the storm caused is heartbreaking. And he hates to think about having to start the whole project over now. But as bad as it was, it could have been worse.
Public Service Company of Oklahoma crews have been out restoring any power outages. In fact, they told 7News they planned to have just about everything back up by news time. They said they should have the new power poles up by 8 p.m.
No official word on how high the winds were, but meteorologists say anytime there is damage like what we had, winds had to reach at least 60 mph.