Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management
Situation Update 6
January 28, 2009 – 11:30 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 one on the Will Rogers Turnpike near Afton, according to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol (OHP). Since Monday, OHP has worked 1,150 weather related collisions, 200 involving injury. Roads remain slick and hazardous in many areas of the state. Travel is discouraged.
According to the Oklahoma Corporation Commission, 27,621 homes and businesses are without electric service across the state.
Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives (OAEC) reports 25,326 electric cooperative customers are without power. The largest number of outages continues in Cherokee, Adair and Sequoyah counties. Electric restoration crews report .75 to 1.25 inches of ice accumulation on power lines. The peak outages occurred last night at approximately 10 p.m. At that time, 38,788 customers were without power.
Below is a list of current affected electric cooperatives, the location of their office and the number of power outages.
Arkansas Valley Electric Cooperative (Pocola) -- 5
Cookson Hills Electric (Stigler) – 3,762
East Central Oklahoma Electric (Okmulgee) – 1,600
Kiamichi Electric Cooperative (Wilburton) -- 225
Lake Region Electric Cooperative (Hulbert) – 9,200
Northeast Oklahoma Electric Cooperative (Vinita) – 286
Ozarks Electric Cooperative (Fayetteville, Ark.) – 230
People’s Electric Cooperative (Ada) – 18
lOG&E reports 1,075 outages across the state, including 368 in Porum. Other outages are reported in Muskogee, Eufaula and Webbers Falls.
lEP-PSO Oklahoma reports 1,220 outages, most in Lehigh.
SHELTERS AND FEEDING
Shelters remain open to assist those impacted by the ice storm at the following locations:
Muskogee -- First United Methodist Church, 600 E. Okmulgee – operated by American Red Cross
Stilwell -- First Baptist Church, 801 W. Hickory – operated by American Red Cross
Westville -- Assembly of God, Hwy. 62 East – operated by American Red Cross
Tahlequah -- First United Methodist Church, 300 W. Delaware – operated by American Red Cross
Eufaula -- Eufaula Indian Community Center (Old Skating Rink), 800 Birkes Road – operated by Muscogee Creek Nation
The shelter at the Checotah First Free Will Baptist Church will close at noon since power has been restored to the area.
81 individuals stayed at the shelters last night; 46 in Tahlequah, 12 in Muskogee, 18 in Westville, and 5 in Eufaula.
Southern Baptist Disaster Relief provided 750 meals to the shelters from their mobile kitchen, located at the Muskogee Fairgrounds. Red Cross will continue to transport the meals from the Southern Baptist kitchen to the shelters.
Sunny skies will prevail the next few days as temperatures warm into the 30s today. Warmer conditions will be experienced state wide on Thursday with temperatures in the 40s. Temperatures in the 50s are expected through the weekend.
OEM personnel remain in Muskogee, Tahlequah and other affected areas to assist with resource requests and coordination. Tuesday, OEM worked with the Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT) to deploy industrial size generators to Eufaula for shelter operations.
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.
ODOT crews report that extremely low temperatures continue to cause areas of treated, wet and slushy roadways to refreeze producing slick conditions over much of the state. Unnecessary travel is discouraged. ODOT has been working closely with the Oklahoma Highway Patrol (OHP) to assist motorists who struggle in maneuvering a slick portion of inclined terrain along westbound I-40 near Henryetta, between mile markers 247 and 252. Crews are working to remedy the slick section of the interstate. Additionally, drivers should be aware that temporary closures continue to occur in far northeastern Oklahoma due to fallen tree branches and power lines. SH-10 is currently closed through Cherokee County due to tree and power line issues. Drivers are asked for continued patience as ODOT works further to clear all highways and interstates. Even though there is sunshine and the precipitation has ended, drivers are cautioned to avoid a false sense of security while driving on the roadways. Wet and slushy roadways can be slick and officials urge drivers to heed the following safety tips:
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 and allow extra time in reaching destinations.
Additionally, the Heartland Flyer is not running 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, Texas 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
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.
Enid Emergency Management reports city offices are back to normal operating hours. The roads are still slick and hazardous but will possibly be in better shape with a possible warm up this afternoon. There are no power outages. The storm delivered about 1/8 inch of ice and 1.25 inches of total snow accumulation.
Oklahoma City Emergency Management reports municipal court has been cancelled for today due to icy street conditions. Defendants will be notified of their new court date. The public counter remains open for those wanting to pay their fines in person. Payments can also be made by calling (405) 297-2361 or logging on to www.okc.gov .
McIntosh County Emergency Management reports Tuesday night county workers were able to assist some motorists stranded on I-40, some requiring transport to shelters. Power outages remain a problem. County crews are currently checking roads for debris. Crews are also surveying storm damage. Roads still very slick and dangerous and we have had no reported accidents since 3 a.m.