Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management
Situation Update 3
January 27, 2009 – 11 a.m.
WINTER STORM CONTINUES TO IMPACT STATE
Due to the severe winter weather, the State Emergency Operations Center (EOC) remains at Level Two activation, which involves extended operating hours for key personnel. The Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management (OEM) remains in contact with emergency managers in the affected areas.
STATE OF EMERGENCY
A State of Emergency continues for all 77 Oklahoma counties, per executive order issued by Gov. Brad Henry on Monday. The executive order marks a first step toward seeking federal assistance should it be necessary. Additionally, the order allows state agencies to make emergency purchases and acquisitions needed to expedite the delivery of resources to local jurisdictions. The Governor also issued an executive order aimed at helping utility crews handle storm-related repairs, allowing a 30-day waiver on permit requirements for use of overweight and oversized vehicles.
FATALITIES AND INJURIES
Two individuals died Monday in two separate crashes; one on the Turner Turnpike near Chandler and the other on the Will Rogers Turnpike near Afton, according to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol (OHP). Since Monday, OHP has worked 900 weather related collisions, 130 of them involving injury. Roads remain slick and hazardous. Travel is discouraged.
According to the Oklahoma Corporation Commission, all total, 6,393 homes and businesses are without electric service across the state.
Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives reports 5,066 rural electric customers without service. This includes: 2,000 reported by East Central Oklahoma Electric, located in Okmulgee; 676 reported by Northeast Oklahoma Electric Cooperative, located in Vinita: 1,109 reported by Cookson Hills Electric, located in Stigler; 1,000 reported by Lake Region Electric Cooperative, located in Hulbert: 126 reported by People’s Electric Cooperative, located in Ada: 100 reported by Arkansas Valley Electric Cooperative, located in Pocola: 5 reported by Kiamichi Electric Cooperative, located in Wilburton; and, 50 reported by Verdigris Valley Electric Cooperative, located in Collinsville.
OG&E reports 937 outages in Oklahoma. This includes 378 in Altus and 235 in Muskogee. Other outages are reported in Carrier, Porum, Checotah and Ringwood.
AEP-PSO Oklahoma reports 390 outages. This includes 200 in McAlester. Other outages are reported in Chouteau, Okmulgee and Wilburton.
SHELTERS AND FEEDING
Checotah – A shelter is being opened at the Checotah First Free Will Baptist Church, 713 N. Broadway, for those displaced by the ice storm. OEM is working with McIntosh County Emergency Management and is deploying a generator to support operation of the shelter by the American Red Cross.
Overnight, freezing rain turned to sleet in central and northeast Oklahoma. Sleet will continue in Oklahoma City and Tulsa through noon today. Freezing rain will continue from Ardmore to McAlester to Poteau through this evening. Sleet will taper off in central Oklahoma this afternoon and end in the northeast by Wednesday morning. Sleet accumulations are reported up to 2 inches in Oklahoma City and Tulsa with 2 to 4 inches in Okmulgee. Ice accumulations of .50 to .75 inches are reported in Eufaula and McAlester. In the Oklahoma City and Tulsa areas, ice accumulations of .25 inches are reported. Temperatures will remain below freezing in all but a few counties of the state. Winds of 10-15 mph are expected. The National Weather Service continues to post an Ice Storm Warning for parts of east central and southeast Oklahoma. Precipitation is expected to exit the state by Wednesday afternoon however, travel problems will continue throughout the day as ice refreezes on the roadways.
OEM personnel remain in McAlester and Muskogee to assist with resource requests and coordination. Resources staged in the east, southeast area include those needed for shelter operations like bottled water, cots, blankets and food. Additionally, FEMA has provided industrial size generators for use in shelters and to provide power to water treatment facilities in the event of electric service disruptions. Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief also has feeding trailers staged in Tulsa, Okmulgee, Muskogee and Tahlequah. OEM is also working with the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army regarding additional shelters and warming stations that may be needed.
Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT) crews continue to treat slick areas on highways and interstates across the state. Drivers should avoid unnecessary travel, and be alert to rapidly changing conditions throughout the night. ODOT crews will continue to work around the clock to treat affected areas to keep the highways and interstates clear.
As a reminder, during snow and ice conditions, motorists are asked to:
-Be aware that conditions are continually changing; drive cautiously and for the conditions on the roadway.
-Allow extra space between vehicles so there is adequate distance for braking in wet and icy conditions.
-Stay at least 200 feet behind road clearing equipment; crews need room to maneuver and can engage plowing or spreading materials without notice.
-Be aware of "black ice" conditions, which looks wet on the roadway but is a thin layer of ice.
-If you must travel, please be patient, plan trips ahead and allow extra time in reaching destinations.
For Oklahoma road conditions call toll free (888) 425-2385. For out-of-state road conditions: Arkansas 800-245-1672; Missouri 800-222-6400; Texas 800-452-9292
Additionally, the Heartland Flyer will not run tonight due to weather conditions. For further information, Amtrak can be contacted at 1-800-USA-RAIL.
Numerous government offices, schools and businesses remain closed today.
For non-emergency disaster or health and human service information, please call 2-1-1. The 2-1-1 line is statewide and provides one phone number to call from your home or cell phone where a specialist can assess the caller’s needs and determine what service providers in the area are best equipped to provide assistance. 2-1-1 services are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Due to high call volumes, you may receive a busy signal when calling 2-1-1. Should you experience this, please leave a message at the prompt or remain on the line and a specialist will be with you as soon as possible. 2-1-1 Oklahoma consists of 7 call regions operational in all 77 Oklahoma counties. The call regions are located in the following:
Ada/Southeastern OK: 2-1-1 or 580-332-0558
Bartlesville/Northeastern OK: 2-1-1 or 918-336-2255
Enid/North Central OK: 2-1-1 or 580-237-4357
Lawton/Southwest OK: 2-1-1 or 580-355-7575
OKC Metro/Central OK: 2-1-1 or 405-286-4057
Tulsa Area/Green Country OK: 2-1-1 or 918-836-4357
Woodward/Northwest OK: 2-1-1 or 580-256-6819
For more information, visit www.211oklahoma.org.
Eufaula/McIntosh County Emergency Management reports rolling power outages in Checotah. A shelter at the First Free Will Baptist Church is being opened. All roads in the county are open but slick. I-40 and Hwy 69 are slick in spots and the bridges are very slick. All schools are closed in the county. The county courthouse is open, but some offices may be closed at the discretion of the elected official for that office. Currently we have .75 to 1 inch of ice on trees and other surfaces. Trees are bending with limbs breaking.
Oklahoma City Emergency Management reports they continue to monitor the weather and its effects on city services. Roads throughout the city continue to be slick and hazardous. Oklahoma City Police have continued the suspension of working non-injury accidents. Public Works crews are working 12 hour shifts and have 21 trucks spreading salt and magnesium chloride on snow routes, city bridges and overpasses. Snow route information can be found at www.okc.gov. Oklahoma City Municipal Court cancelled for Tuesday 1/27/09; however the public counter is open for those wishing to pay their fines in person. No other city offices affected at this time.
Payne County Emergency Management reports roadways continue to be slick and hazardous, although slightly improved due to sleet accumulations overnight. Sleet continued until 8:15 a.m. We are now experiencing light snow flurries. Between the sleet and snow, all ground surfaces are covered, with ice under the sleet/snow. No reports of power outages.
Logan County Emergency Management reports no power outages or damages in the county at this time. All roads are very slick and hazardous. Most of Guthrie is closed for the day.
Jefferson County Emergency Management reports the county is pretty much covered in .25 to .50 inches of ice. All travel is discouraged. Schools are closed due to icy conditions as are most day cares. Sanding crews have worked most of the night and morning to keeps roads safe for those who have to be out.
Pontotoc County Emergency Management reports power outages reported in the Union Valley area. There are about three-eighths inch of ice in the southern half of the county with slushy roads and slick spots. In the northern half of the county roads are slick and hazardous with freezing slush and sleet. One injury accident reported last night. The EOC is operational in limited status at this time, and we are working with the American Red Cross to make sure all needs of the population are addressed.
McClain County Emergency Management reports all roads reported open, but remain slick and hazardous. Moderate sleet with light snow reported in northern part of the county; freezing rain earlier this morning in southern areas. Road crews are treating roadways and assisting motorists.