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August 3, 2011
Jimmy Hays uses a backhoe to move some of the debris left after strong winds destroyed two mobile homes in the Rocky Ridge area on Aug. 3.
By Doug Russell
Two families lose homes to storm
Two Haskell County families lost their homes and most of their possessions when a storm swept through the county Aug. 3.
Winds associated with the storm demolished the mobile homes of Tia Hays and Jeff and Tara Hays, scattering aluminum, fiberglass and personal belongings all the way to the county road and beyond. Strong winds also ripped the roofs from nearby barns owned by Bob Mouser.
A neighbor who requested her name not be used said a "Black cloud just came down out of the sky and went straight back up. It took the top of the tree off, destroyed two mobile homes and Mouser's barn."
"The National Weather Service says they don't believe it was a tornado, since they didn't see rotation on their radar," said Angela Hensley, Haskell County Emergency Management director.
The scene near the junction of County Roads 4390 and 1230 Thursday was one of utter devastation, as Jimmy Hays, father of Jeff and father-in-law to Tara and Tia, worked to clear debris and find anything that could be salvageable from the wreckage. "Mainly, I'm looking for pictures," he said, taking a break. "Most of the stuff can be replaced, but you can't replace pictures."
A lone Teddy bear lay on its back in the dirt, plastic eyes wide as if in shock. Pink fiberglass hung like some grotesque holiday decoration from tree branches. A double-wide horse trailer sported a large dent along its front, its tires ripped from the rims by the force that shoved it sideways during the storm.(more on this story in this week's Stigler News Sentinel)
Oklahoma July was hottest in the nation
By Doug Russell
There's no need to make that trip to the sauna this summer. All you have to do is walk outside after being in an air conditioned building.
Record setting high temperatures have been blamed in at least nine deaths in Oklahoma, and many more cases of heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
As of Aug. 8, Haskell County had already seen 36 days with temperatures soaring to 100 degrees or higher, with similar numbers of 100-degree days in surrounding counties. Portions of LeFlore County had 43 days, while Latimer County had 42, according to the Oklahoma Climatological Survey.
As of Aug. 7, the little town of Grandfield, in the southwest portion of the state, had 76 days with temperatures blasting to 100 degrees or higher.
The state record for the most days at or above the thermometer's 100-degree mark was set in Hollis in 1956, another summer of steady drought.
So how hot was it overall? Very, according to Associate State Climatologist Gary McManus.
Statewide average record keeping began in 1895. "Multiply that number by 48 (contiguous states,) and you have 67,152 months of temperature records for the contiguous states," McManus wrote recently. "Of those statewide average temperature records for the 48 states, none has been hotter than July 2011 in Oklahoma."(more on this story in this week's Stigler News Sentinel)
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