Friday storms cause damage; officials preparing for additional risk

Apr. 26—Local officials continue to assess the damage caused by early morning storms Friday while also preparing for the potential for more severe weather through the weekend.

Severe thunderstorms caused a swath of damage from the Jackie Brannon Correctional Center and points north and east through parts of northwest McAlester.

Damage to homes, businesses, and to trees and power lines were observed in the area Friday morning.

Pittsburg County/McAlester Emergency Manager Kevin Enloe said his team continues to survey damage in the area caused by Friday morning's storms but said the primary focus has been North McAlester.

"Jackie Brannon had damage there; the city barns had some damage," Enloe said. "A travel trailer overturned at the emergency operations center."

Kay Thompson with the Oklahoma Department of Corrections said the damage observed at JBCC was minimal, but did say a building that housed the central transportaion unit did receive roof damage that was patched by Friday afternoon.

"JBCC sustained minimal damage," Thompson said. "The high winds blew some trim off the C unit building and blew a tree over onto a small pavilion covering a picnic table."

Thompson said ODOC plans to reopen the CTU building for use by Tuesday.

Adrian O' Hanlon, public information officer for the city of McAlester, said the damage received at the city barn on West Street was limited to the roofing for the salt sheds.

According to both Enloe and O'Hanlon, officials are gearing up for more severe weather that is forecast through the weekend.

"The City is preparing for more potential severe weather in the next 48 hours and is working closely with multiple entities and partners in response to any damage," O'Hanlon III said. "We urge the community to stay weather-aware with access to multiple alert systems, follow news media, and have a plan in case of a weather event."

Enloe said his office will continue to receive periodic briefings from meteorologists from the National Weather Service in Tulsa and other state and local agencies.

"We'll continue to coordinate, monitor with NWS, and state emergency management," Enloe said. "We've got coordination calls we started at nine o'clock last night and we'll continue to do that until the weather is clear."

The NWS in Tulsa said Friday morning the general details for Saturday "paint a picture of a higher end severe weather day" with tornadoes, large hail, and damaging winds all possible in eastern Oklahoma.

A risk for flash flooding is also forecast through Sunday for the area.

Pittsburg County and McAlester residents who sustained damage from Wednesday's storm are asked to report damage by contacting the Pittsburg County/McAlester Emergency Management Office at 918-423-5655.

Choctaw Nation tribal members can also report damage to the Choctaw Nation's Emergency Management Office at 1-844-709-6301, or by email at