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Lightning strike responsible for Lawton storm siren sounding Sunday

Updated: May. 17, 2021 at 5:03 PM CDT
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LAWTON, Okla. (TNN) - If you were in east Lawton Sunday morning, you may have heard a storm siren going off despite there not being a tornado or severe weather in the area.

Comanche County Emergency Manager Michael Merritt said lightning struck close to the storm siren causing it to go off and briefly causing the power to flicker in the area.

“We got notified pretty quickly, people were calling and letting us know it was going off and we realized we weren’t the ones that turned it on so we quickly got on it and turned it off,” Merritt said.

Merritt said now they’re checking the siren for damage

“It’s being looked at today and evaluated and taken care of if there were any damages or not. I haven’t been advised whether there were damages or not,” Merritt said.

Merritt said his department is responsible for sounding the sirens, so when severe weather is near, they are constantly monitoring radars in preparation.

“We’re on NWS chat with the National Weather Service, we’re trying to verify and get the latest and most accurate information that’s coming out of everywhere we have ties to that way we can make the best-informed decision we can in order to activate the storm sirens when necessary,” Merritt said.

Severe weather is making its way across southwest Oklahoma this week and Merritt says his biggest concern is flooding.

“The ponds are all full, the creeks have come up. They’ve gone back down for right now but the potential there for everything being full and us not having and reserve capacity to slow things down is there. If we get a large amount of rain, things are going to come out really quickly and cause a lot of problems,” Merritt said.

But Merritt said they are constantly monitoring the water levels.

“We’re already watching the possible flooding potential down south in Cotton County from some of the creeks as they come up. We’re going to get right to that level where it’s going to be at the top of the banks, so if we don’t get a little bit of time for everything to cool down and go back down then the potential is there for any amount of rain to cause it to go over the top,” Merritt said.

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