Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management
Situation Update 4
January 27, 2009 – 5 p.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 more than 1,000 weather related collisions, 130 of them involving injury. Roads remain slick and hazardous in many areas throughout the state. Travel is discouraged.
According to the Oklahoma Corporation Commission, all total, 25,112 homes and businesses are without electric service across the state.
Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives reports 21,510 rural electric customers without service. This includes: 1 reported by Arkansas Valley Electric Cooperative, located in Pocola; 43 reported by Canadian Valley Electric Cooperative; 1,656 reported by Cookson Hills Electric, located in Stigler; 2,500 reported by East Central Oklahoma Electric, located in Okmulgee; 1,200 Kiamichi Electric Cooperative, located in Wilburton; 6,475 reported by Lake Region Electric Cooperative, located in Hulbert; 441 reported by Northeast Oklahoma Electric Cooperative, located in Vinita; 8,987 reported by Ozarks Electric Cooperative; 162 reported by People’s Electric Cooperative, located in Ada: and, 45 reported by Southeastern Electric Cooperative.
OG&E reports 3,212 outages in Oklahoma. This includes 2,442 in Muskogee. Other outages are reported in Checotah and Webbers Falls.
AEP-PSO Oklahoma reports 390 outages. This includes 200 in McAlester. Other outages are reported in Chouteau, Okmulgee and Wilburton.
SHELTERS AND FEEDING
Shelters are open at the following locations:
Muskogee -- First United Methodist Church, 600 E. Okmulgee
Checotah -- First Freewill Baptist Church, 713 N. Broadway
Westville (Adair County) -- Assembly of God, Hwy. 62 East
Tahlequah -- First United Methodist Church, 300 W. Delaware
Eufaula -- Eufaula Senior Center, First and High Street.
Eufaula -- Old Skating Rink
Southern Baptist Disaster Relief is providing meals for the shelters from their mobile kitchen, located at the Muskogee Fairgrounds. Red Cross will pick up the meals and deliver to each of the shelters. Additionally, the Red Cross is working with firefighters in Wainwright to deliver meals to those without power.
Light sleet will continue north of a line from Pauls Valley to Grove into the overnight hours, tapering off to light snow by Wednesday morning. Freezing rain will continue south and east of that line with total ice accumulations between .50 and 1 inch. The freezing rain will end by noon Wednesday. Temperatures will be bitterly cold tonight, with readings in the single digits and low teens for much of Oklahoma. Wednesday afternoon highs will struggle to reach the low 30s for areas that have received sleet and freezing rain. Winds will generally be 10 to 15 mph.
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 keep water treatment facilities on line.
The Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT) reports for the second night in a row, highway crews will be out across the state, monitoring road conditions and adjusting the treatment of slick areas on roadways and bridges. With temperatures remaining below freezing, many counties continue to report slick and hazardous conditions. The only counties reporting clear roads at this time are Cimarron County, Texas County and Beaver County. As this latest round of weather moves across Oklahoma, drivers are urged to be extremely cautious on all roadways. Unnecessary travel is discouraged. As highway crews continue their clearing efforts, drivers are reminded to stay at least 200 feet behind road clearing equipment, for both their safety and the safety of the operators. These crews will continue shift work around the clock throughout this winter storm.
During snow and ice conditions, motorists that must travel 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.
Please be patient, plan trips ahead and allow extra time in reaching destinations.
Additionally, the Heartland Flyer will not run Tuesday night or Wednesday morning due to weather conditions. It is anticipated that, barring any further weather problems, the train will run a normal schedule Wednesday night, departing at 5:25 p.m. from Ft. Worth, TX and arriving at 9:39 p.m. in Oklahoma City. For further information, Amtrak can be contacted at 1-800-USA-RAIL.
To check CURRENT ROAD CONDITIONS call the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety's ROAD CONDITIONS HOTLINE 888-425-2385. For out-of-state road conditions: Arkansas 800-245-1672; Missouri 800-222-6400; Texas 800-452-9292
STATE HEALTH DEPARTMENT
The Oklahoma State Department of Health’s Situation Room remains activated at Level Two.
Over a 24-hour period, Norman Emergency Medical Services responded to 18 individuals who had fallen, with 11 injuries needing transport. Additionally, Norman EMS responded to more than 80 multiple vehicle accidents, with 7 needing transport. Oklahoma City area EMSA responded to 104 slips and falls, with 79 being transported and 64 multiple vehicle accidents, with 24 being transported. EMSA Tulsa responded to 69 multiple vehicle accidents, with 37 transports and 61 falls, with 47 needing transport. Total calls for EMSA Tulsa set a record when they received 305 calls requiring 221 transports to hospitals. Overall, the State Emergency Medical System is experiencing a 78 percent increase in responses due to weather related accidents. There was a 58 percent increase in transports.
All hospitals and caregivers are being monitored by health department personnel in the 77 counties. Power outages are being monitored and vaccines transferred if necessary due to those power outages. Numerous county health departments remain closed.
Numerous government offices, schools and businesses remain closed today. Many have already posting closings for Wednesday.
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.