Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management
Situation Update 3
Sept. 1, 2008 -- 11:30 a.m.
OKLAHOMA CONTINUING TO ASSIST GULF COAST REGION IMPACTED BY HURRICANE GUSTAV
State and local officials continue to assist neighboring states impacted by Hurricane Gustav. This morning the storm made landfall on the Louisiana coast, west of New Orleans.
A State of Emergency, as declared by Gov. Henry, remains in effect for Oklahoma. The State Emergency Operations Center (EOC) remains activated. Officials with the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management (OEM) continue to work with FEMA and officials in Texas and Louisiana to provide assistance.
Since Sunday night, about 1,800 Louisiana evacuees have arrived by bus at the Oklahoma City Evacuee Support Shelter, which is located at the old Lucent Technology plant, 7725 W. Reno. The evacuees arrived with 27 pets, including dogs, cats, hamsters and a fish. The City of Oklahoma City is operating the shelter with assistance from numerous agencies and organizations, including the American Red Cross, Salvation Army, United Way of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Department of Human Services, Oklahoma City/County Health Department, Oklahoma County Emergency Management, Edmond Emergency Management and Southern Baptist Men’s Disaster Relief. OEM continues to secure resources to support the shelter to include cots, blankets and bottled water.
Additionally, on Sunday, Oklahoma received 97 patients evacuated from Louisiana hospitals through the National Disaster Medical System (NDMS). The patients were flown to the Oklahoma Air National Guard Base at Will Rogers Airport in Oklahoma City and transported to area hospitals by EMSA and other ambulance service providers. This NDMS evacuation to Oklahoma was coordinated through the Oklahoma State Department of Health, Medical Emergency Response Center (MERC) and OEM.
Hurricane Gustav is a category 2. A Hurricane Warning continues for High Island, Texas eastward to the Alabama-Florida border. The center of Gustav is located 70 miles south, southwest of New Orleans. Movement is toward the northwest at 15 mph and this motion is expected to continue for the next 24 hours with some decrease in forward speed. Maximum sustained winds are near 110 mph and weakening is forecast. Hurricane force winds extend outward to 70 miles and tropical storm force winds to 200 miles. A storm surge of 10 to14 feet above normal tide is likely east of the center. Models agree that Gustav will continue to move to the northwest for the next 12 to 18 hours. After that point a decrease in forward speed is likely as the steering currents near Gustav relax. Beyond 18 hours it is quite difficult to forecast what Gustav will do as the model spread is significant.
Oklahoma Deploys Assistance to Impacted States
OEM continues to support requests for equipment and personnel sent to the hurricane-ravaged area through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC), an interstate mutual aid agreement. The following resources have been or are in the process of being deployed.
The Oklahoma Highway Patrol is sending 11 personnel, two airboats and three rescue boats to Gonzales, La. They will assist with search and rescue efforts in the New Orleans area community.
The Oklahoma Military Department sent personnel and equipment to assist with search and rescue efforts in Texas and Louisiana, including five aero-medical personnel, an OH-58 helicopter and crew, and a C-23 cargo airplane and crew.
Oklahomans are discouraged from self-deploying to the Gulf Coast region impacted by Gustav. In most cases, access to the affected areas, requires proper credentials and travel documents. As Oklahoma continues to receive requests for personnel, equipment and supplies, OEM will look to local county and municipal emergency managers to identify the needed resources and work through EMAC to deploy resources to the affected areas.
How Can Oklahomans Help?
Monetary donations are best. A number of the disaster relief agencies Oklahomans always depend on in disaster times are already working to assist those affected by Gustav. Oklahomans are urged to give to the disaster relief agency of their choice, to include the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army and other faith-based organizations. Go to www.okvoad.org for a list of disaster relief organizations.
Evacuees Should Dial 2-1-1
Evacuees are encouraged to call 2-1-1 for non-emergency disaster or health and human service information. Services are available 24 hours a day by dialing 2-1-1 from your home or cellular telephone. The Oklahoma Department of Transportation is assisting in this public education effort by displaying “Evacuation Info call 211” on message boards located on key interstates and highways.