Wind Damage Sweeps Through Gaines County

By: Sarah Snyder
NewsWest 9

GAINES COUNTY - Tractor trailer rollovers, car accidents, fires, and buildings pulled right out of the ground. The Northern Permian Basin saw substantial damage from the straight line winds.

One of the hardest hit areas is Gaines County. The winds started picking up about noon in Seminole. Gaines County officials have been working multiple calls all over this area. One of the most damaged buildings is an R. V. storage facility that sits right next to the Gaines County Jail. The winds got up to 70 mph and sent the metal building up into the air.

"That's bad," Gaines County Chief Deputy, Charley Shaw, said. "That's hurricane-type winds. It's been awhile since we've had them this strong. It really has."

It all started at 6:00 Tuesday morning with two rollovers on the icey streets. By lunch time, 60 mph gusts forced two tractor trailers to flip over on Highway 385.

"The wind was pretty bad," S. Naufeld, a Seminole Neighbor, said. "It was scary. We came from Seagraves and had to stop on the road. We couldn't see anything. We had to stop on the side of the road for awhile."

As the afternoon wore on, crews headed for another accident - when two pick-ups collided due to low visibility. EMS officials tell NewsWest 9, the bright spot in all the chaos is that no one was injured.

"It was amazing, it was amazing," Chief Deputy Shaw said. "Of all the accidents we had today - no one was injured in those."

But the worst of the damage came about 2:00 on Tuesday afternoon. It was "all hands on deck" to put out the flames on about 500 acres off Highway 214. City and county officials evacuated about ten homes but no structures were damaged. 800 people in Seagraves and Seminole lost power for about three hours while crews picked up 11 downed lines.

"I thought, man - we've got some strong winds!" Shaw said.

Authorities had to call out back-up crews from around Seminole, Seagraves, and Gaines County. Those crews will be on stand-by for the rest of Tuesday night.