“The National Weather Service had us under a severe thunderstorm warning with a tornado watch box when reports of a wall cloud approaching Altus from the south came in,” Colston said.
“Our spotters didn’t report the wall, but because of a change in emergency operations plans after the June 5 non-tornado, we sounded the sirens when the wall cloud reports started coming in,” he explained.
Altus only received a little over an inch of rain with a small amount of hail from Thursday’s storm, but other areas of the county saw up to 3 inches, and Hobart reported over 5 inches of rain.
“We are still somewhat under the gun today,” Colston said, “But with cooler temperatures we probably won’t see the severe conditions we saw on Thursday.”
Colston said as the storm came through the Altus area Thursday afternoon, moving between Altus and Duke and heading toward Martha, he saw some rotation and more noticeable wall cloud, but the sirens didn’t sound because the storm was out of our area.
Both Martha and Duke reported dime- to golf ball-sized hail from the Thursday afternoon storm, and Warren reported high winds.
Another storm moved through Altus between 2 and 4 a.m. today with more heavy rains.
Colston said he wanted to brag on his spotters, “This is why we have the Storm Ready Program,” he said, “Our spotters are trained to know what a wall cloud looks like and makes informed and accurate reports based on their training”
Other areas of Oklahoma reported strong winds and large hail Thursday. The Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management spokeswoman Michelann Ooten said straight-line winds tore the roofs off two buildings and blew down power lines in Tonkawa.
Tornado warnings were issued for Caddo, Comanche, Kiowa and Tillman counties, and there were reports that a twister touched down near Cooperton in Kiowa County, but the National Weather Service hadn't officially confirmed a tornado.
Tillman County deputy emergency management director Randy Hasley says no tornadoes touched down, but baseball-size hail damaged the windows of a home near Davidson.
Rain changes continue today with a 40 percent change during the day, and a 20 percent chance tonight. Rain is also forecast through Monday.