McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

June 10, 2014

Weather damage topples trees in Pittsburg County

By James Beaty
Senior Editor

McALESTER — Heavy rains that pummeled the McAlester area over the weekend and early Monday caused several trees to topple over Pittsburg County roads.

District 2 Pittsburg County Commissioner Kevin Smith said several hardwood trees fell across county roads in his district after heavy rains loosened the soil around the trees’ roots.

Smith said Monday he had crews out cutting trees that  had fallen across  Friendship Road and Wardville Road.

Earlier, he had cut some timber out of the way at Buff Road and South Blanco Road so vehicles could get through until a full crew could get to the locations  to completely clear the sites.

“I cut enough to where the traffic could get through,” Smith said, following the commissioners’ regular Monday  meeting  in the Commissioners’ Conference Room at the Pittsburg County Courthouse.

Earlier, there had been some branches across roads in the northern part of the county, said District 1 Commissioner Gene Rogers. Sam’s Point Road and Fairview Road both had branches over the roadways before they were cleared, according to Rogers.

District 3 Commissioner Trent Myers said he was not aware of any major storm-related issues in his district as of early Monday.

“We worked a lot on drainage and changed tin horns when the weather was dry,” he said.

McAlester/Pittsburg County Office of Emergency Management Director Kevin Enloe said early Monday he wasn’t aware of any major water damage.

Part of State Highway 31 West had been temporarily closed, but had reopened, according to Enloe.

During the Monday morning storm, lightning struck a tank battery at a Newfield Exploration site on Friendship Road, Enloe said. He said the call came in around 8:50 a.m.

Enloe, along with the Ashland and Arpelar Volunteer Fire Departments, responded to the fire,” he said.

However, when they arrived at the site, workers at the scene had already doused the fire with a fire extinguisher, he said.

Meanwhile, Smith said that when heavy rains fall following fairly long periods of little or no rain, some trees growing along the banks of ditches along the roadway are more prone to topple.

“It don’t seem like you have that problem when you have consistent rain,” Smith said.

Contact James Beaty at jbeaty@mcalesternews.com.