Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management
Situation Update 1
February 8, 2011 – 11:30 a.m.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Michelann Ooten, Public Information Officer
WINTER STORM TO IMPACT STATE
In preparation for the approaching severe winter storm, the State Emergency Operations Center (EOC) has been activated. Officials with the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management (OEM) are working with local emergency managers, the Oklahoma Department of Transportation, Oklahoma Highway Patrol, Oklahoma National Guard, Oklahoma State Department of Health, Oklahoma Turnpike Authority, Oklahoma Corporation Commission, FEMA, American Red Cross, Salvation Army and numerous other emergency response, recovery partners in planning for the storm’s arrival.
A winter storm warning remains posted for nearly all of Oklahoma through Wednesday. Widespread, 4-6 inches of snow is expected in the warned area with isolated amounts of up to 10 inches in some areas. Strong winds will create blowing snow and low visibility and may result in snow drifts of 2-3 feet. Bitterly cold temperatures will return and last through Thursday. Wind chills will be at or below zero Wednesday creating dangerous exposure conditions. A warm up is anticipated for the weekend.
STATE OF EMERGENCY
The State of Emergency declared by Gov. Mary Fallin for last week’s blizzard remains in effect. The State of Emergency marks a first step toward seeking federal assistance, should it be necessary. Additionally, the executive order allows state agencies to make emergency purchases and acquisitions needed to expedite the delivery of resources to local jurisdictions. The declaration provides a formal mechanism for local governments to seek reimbursement for recovery costs through the state’s disaster public assistance program as conditions warrant.
The bottled water, cots, blankets and MREs (meals ready to eat) FEMA provided last week are available for use in the event shelters and warming stations are needed due to stranded motorists or power outages. Additionally, OEM has pre-positioned state industrial-sized generators around Oklahoma that can be used for shelters. Please note these generators are NOT for residential use.
OEM continues to receive updates from the National Weather Service and stands ready to assist local emergency managers, the American Red Cross, Salvation Army and other disaster relief agencies in opening shelters and mass feeding sites if necessary.
OKLAHOMANS SHOULD MAKE FINAL PREPARATIONS NOW
Oklahomans are urged to take the steps now to prepare for the storm’s anticipated arrival later today. Once the storm arrives, please heed the recommendation of public safety and transportation officials regarding travel conditions.
Have A Plan:
• Understand the hazards of wind chill. Cold temperatures are even more dangerous, and potentially deadly, when combined with strong winds. The lower the temperature and stronger the wind, the more at risk you are.
• Check on family, friends and neighbors, especially the elderly. Make sure they are prepared.
• Plan to bring pets inside during winter weather. Move livestock to sheltered areas with
non-frozen drinking water.
• Install and check smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.
• Let faucets drip a little to avoid freezing and know how to shut off water valves if necessary.
• Keep your gas tank full for emergency use and to keep the fuel line from freezing.
Make A Kit:
• A cell phone with charger and a battery powered radio.
• Windshield scraper, deicer, snow shovel and small broom for ice and snow removal.
• Several blankets or sleeping bags.
• Rain gear, warm coats and extra sets of dry clothing, mittens, socks and a cap.
• Non-perishable snacks like dried fruit, nuts and other high energy “munchies.”
• Several bottles of water. Eating snow will lower your body temperature so melt it first.
• Sand or cat litter for generating traction under wheels and a set of tire chains.
• Jumper cables, flashlight with extra batteries, first aid kit and brightly colored cloth to tie to antenna if you get stranded.
• Know what National Weather Service winter storm and blizzard watches and warnings mean.
• A winter storm watch is a message indicating a winter storm is possible in your area.
• A winter storm warning indicates a winter storm is occurring winter storm is occurring or will soon occur in your area and could threaten life and property.
• A blizzard warning means sustained winds or frequent gusts to 35 mph or greater and considerable falling or blowing snow is expected to prevail for a period of three hours or longer.
• Depend on your NOAA All Hazards Weather Radio, along with local radio and television stations, for weather reports.
Situation Updates are posted at www.oem.ok.gov
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Next Situation Update: As conditions warrant