Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 18, 2007 – 3:30 p.m. Update #2
The low pressure system that delivered excessive rain across the state last week remained in the region throughout the weekend. Early this afternoon the system began moving northeast through eastern Oklahoma. Once again, the system is producing excessive rainfall across the state. Atoka, Bryant, Coal, Johnston and Pontotoc counties have been particularly hard hit and remain under a flash flood warning. Some areas have seen as much as 4 to 6 inches of rainfall today.
A cold front is moving into northwest Oklahoma, delivering a chance for severe thunderstorms today and tomorrow along with excessive rainfall which made lead to more flash flooding. A flash flood watch continues for parts of south central/southeast Oklahoma through early evening.
Today’s conditions come on the heels of last week’s flash flooding experienced in many areas of the state, including in Creek, Kiowa, Logan, Major, Nowata and Washington counties where 4 to 8 inches of rain was received in some cases.
The Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management (OEM) continues to receive damage reports from counties, cities and towns impacted by storms and flooding. OEM remains in contact with emergency managers in the affected areas.
Injuries and Fatalities
Three people sustained minor injuries when their pickup washed down a creek in Pontotoc County. All three were rescued: two were treated at the scene; one was transported to a nearby hospital.
No shelters are open at this time.
The Oklahoma Highway Patrol reports troopers worked numerous weather-related crashes over the weekend and today. Motorists are urged to slow down and drive for wet road conditions. Motorists are also urged to avoid driving into high water. It only takes a minimal amount of moving water for cars to be swept away and there may be unseen damage to the road. Motorists who encounter flooded roads should turn around and find an alternate route. Flash floods are the number one cause of weather-related deaths in the nation.
Local Damage Reports
Bryan County Emergency Management reports flood damage to five homes – three in Durant, one in Caddo and one in Kenefic. Heavy rain prompted first responders to go door to door checking on residents in some communities. Major street flooding also reported. Many secondary county roads still have water over them.
Johnston County Emergency Management reports four-to-five inches of flood water inside Bromide Town Hall. Highway 78 is shut down between Milburn and Emit and Highway 48 is closed south of Wapanucka.
Kiowa County Emergency Management reports over the weekend American Red Cross officials processed 18 applications for assistance related to last week’s flooding. There were no requests for shelter.
Pontotoc County Emergency Management reports minor flood damage to one home in Roff and flood damage to some roads and bridges. There are many county roads closed, especially those with low water crossings.
Stephens County Emergency Management reports on Sunday a bridge located about five miles east on Highway 29 and five miles south on Goodrich Road was destroyed.
National Weather Service reports:
Near Bowlegs (Seminole County), County Road EW 129 half-mile east of Highway 59 is closed due to flooding;
On the north edge of Konawa (Seminole County), a bridge is washed out on Highway 9A;
Near Maud (Pottawatomie County), two houses were evacuated due to flood waters. Several county roads have water over them.
Damage Assessments Underway
OEM and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) representatives continue to join local officials in conducting joint preliminary damage assessments (PDAs) related to weather systems that moved through the state since Memorial Day weekend. The PDAs are needed to gage whether the damages to infrastructure and the costs associated with responding to the storms meet the criteria to qualify for disaster assistance.
State and local officials are also in the process of confirming the number of homes and businesses damaged by the storms. Residents and business owners who sustained uninsured or under-insured property damage are urged to report the damage information to their local emergency manager.
Recovery from May 4-11 Storms Continues
A federal disaster declaration remains in effect for 17 Oklahoma counties to provide public assistance related to the severe storms, flooding and tornadoes that occurred in the state May 4-11. The 17 counties that qualified for public assistance are: Atoka, Beckham, Blaine, Caddo, Comanche, Dewey, Ellis, Greer, Kay, Kiowa, Lincoln, Noble, Nowata, Okfuskee, Pottawatomie, Roger Mills and Seminole. OEM and FEMA representatives are holding applicant briefings with local officials in the declared counties. An applicants' briefing is a meeting conducted to inform prospective applicants of available assistance and eligibility requirements for obtaining that assistance.
OEM continues to work with nine additional counties where damage from the May 4-11 storm was identified but where initial damage assessments in those counties did not meet the per capita requirement for federal disaster assistance. Additional damage surveys are now underway in Bryan, Canadian, Garfield, Grady, Hughes, Logan, McIntosh, Sequoyah and Woodward counties.