Apocalyptic weather outbreak leaves path of destruction across the southern Plains: Giant hail, Damaging tornadoes, More than 400,000 lightnings, Widespread power outages

Communities across the southern Plains were recovering Monday after multiple tornadoes tore through the region, leaving a path of destruction amid a weather pattern that threatened even more severe storms.

The severe weather swept through the region on Sunday night into Monday morning, particularly affecting Oklahoma, Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Texas.

11 total tornadoes were reported across Oklahoma and Missouri on Sunday. The storms that produced the potential tornadoes were also responsible for large hail and damaging winds.

“The seasons have officially changed from summer to fall, but Mother Nature is still transitioning from the warm to cold seasons in many places,” Curtis explained. “The clashing of warm and cold air masses often results in severe thunderstorms, which is what happened Sunday night from northern Texas to southwestern Missouri.

More than 11 tornadoes on Sunday

A tornado watch from the National Weather Service (NWS) was in effect for southeastern Oklahoma and central and north-central Texas, beginning at 6:10 p.m. on Sunday night and ending at 2 a.m. on Monday morning, local time.

The National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center issued a rare “moderate” risk for severe storms in central Oklahoma on Sunday, which has not happened in the month of October since Oct. 13, 2014. Since 2003, which is as far back as the Storm Prediction Center keeps yearly records online, there have only been eight days in October with a “moderate” risk for severe storms.

Central Oklahoma was under “moderate” risk for severe storms on Sunday, Oct. 10. A moderate risk for severe storms has not been issued in the month of October since 2014. (NOAA)
Central Oklahoma was under “moderate” risk for severe storms on Sunday, Oct. 10. A moderate risk for severe storms has not been issued in the month of October since 2014. (NOAA)

The community of Coweta, Oklahoma, a suburb of Tulsa, was impacted when a radar-confirmed tornado tore through the town, leaving significant amounts of damages on homes, a gas station and a high school. The Coweta Public School District canceled classes for Monday following the severe weather.

Anadarko, Oklahoma, was another community affected by the severe weather and possible tornadoes. Businesses in Anadarko took a direct hit from the storms and sustained large amounts of damage.

In Kansas City, the second half of the NFL game between the Chiefs and the Buffalo Bills was delayed by more than an hour due to the severe weather rumbling through the area.

As of Monday morning, there had not been any reports of injuries or deaths related to the severe weather.

According to the NWS, the time of year has benefitted residents in the affected area. As leaves are just about ready to fall from their trees, they are easily pulled from the branches and lofted into the air, keeping debris signatures visible for a longer period of time.

Hail apocalypse in Norman

Cars across campus at The University of Oklahoma in Norman sustained massive damage from large hailstones breaking through windows. One student told Wadell that covered parking spots and parking garages filled up quickly on Sunday night and that he wasn’t able to find a safe spot to park. Luckily for that student, his car did not sustain any damage.

Much of the damage was reminiscent of the damage caused by another severe weather outbreak that struck the region in April.

Windows on apartment buildings were also shattered in Norman, Wadell reported. One woman told him that she had to hide in a closet with her cats while the hail pelted her building, shattering the windows in her apartment, including a skylight. She said the hail seemed to last for about 10-15 minutes.

Widespread power outages

On Monday, power outages were still widespread across the region, with nearly 18,000 outages in Texas alone. Oklahoma Gas & Electric released a statement on Facebook on Sunday night assuring customers that they were working to restore power across the state, but on Monday morning, Oklahoma still had over 7,000 outages, according to PowerOutage.US.

But even as residents were in the dark, lightning lit up the sky as storms rolled through the region. Approximately 400,000 lightning events were detected across Oklahoma on Sunday as thunderstorms struck the Sooner State, according to Chris Vagasky, a meteorologist with Vaisala, a lightning detection company.

The severe weather appeared to have cleared up by Monday morning, and a rainbow instead took its place in the sky over Tulsa, Oklahoma.

As the early portion of the week unfolds, a large swath of the middle of the U.S. is not in the clear from severe weather. While residents across the Plains work on cleanups and repairs following the outbreak of tornadoes, the Midwest could be next in line, with severe weather forecast into Monday night.

Flash flooding, hail and some isolated tornadoes are forecast to inundate the region with a terrifying 80 mph wind in the cards. [Accuweather]