Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 1, 2009 – 2:30 p.m. – Situation Update 1
STORMS BRING FLOODING TO STATE
Due to severe weather, the State Emergency Operations Center (EOC) is at Level Two activation, which involves extended operating hours for key personnel. The Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management (OEM) is in contact with emergency managers in the affected areas.
A storm system developed in western Oklahoma last week and has remained nearby since that time. Gulf moisture has been moving northward during the week providing a key ingredient for severe thunderstorms and tornadoes. In the past week six tornadoes have been recorded with three of them rated EF-2. Rain has occurred each day, resulting in saturated ground across much of the state. Continued rain today has resulted in areas of flash flooding in north-central and northeast Oklahoma.
Additional rainfall is expected through Sunday across much of Oklahoma. An additional 2-3 inches of rain will be possible the next few days. A flash flood watch is posted for western, central, and eastern Oklahoma through Saturday evening.
Severe thunderstorms are possible tonight, primarily across southern Oklahoma. Severe thunderstorms will be possible Saturday and ending Sunday afternoon.
Oklahoma Highway Patrol (OHP), Lake Patrol Division is assisting in Mayes County with swift water rescue due to motorists stranded in flood waters.
In Salina, 10 miles east of Pryor on Lake Hudson, flooding has required evacuation of a portion of the town, OHP reports. The pumps used to pump water back over the levies have failed. Grand River Dam Authority (GRDA) Lake Patrol is assisting with evacuation and providing mutual aid to the Salina Fire Department for any rescue.
OHP Lake Patrol assisted on rescues in the Pryor area, and is now staged at the Pryor Fire Department. They will remain in the area and assist GRDA and Salina, if necessary.
Oklahoma Task Force One, out of Tulsa, was deployed to Mayes County this morning. Members continue to assist with swift water rescue as well.
State of Emergency
A State of Emergency continues for nine Oklahoma counties impacted by tornadoes, severe storms and flooding since Saturday. Per executive order issued by Gov. Brad Henry on Wednesday, the counties included in the declaration are: Alfalfa, Dewey, Ellis, Garfield, Grant, Kay, Major, Woods and Woodward. Other counties will be added. 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.
No injuries reported.
Power and Telephone Service Outages
The Oklahoma Corporation Commission (OCC) reports Northeast Oklahoma Electric Cooperative is disconnecting electric service to customers in an area south and east of Salina due to flooding.
OCC also reports limited phone service outages in Salina, Locust Grove, Spavinaw, Flint and Kansas, OK.
The Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT) reports the following highway closings due to high water:
Mayes County in Pryor
SH-20 is closed in Pryor
Mayes County near Adair
SH-28 is closed east of US-69 near Adair
Cotton County north of Taylor, near the Texas border
SH-5B is closed just north of the SH-5B/US-70 junction
Nowata County east of Lenapah, south of the Kansas border
SH-10 is closed approximately 4 miles east of US-169 over Cedar Creek
Alfalfa County near Aline
SH-8 between Aline in Alfalfa County and Cleo Springs in Major County
For current road conditions call the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety's Road Conditions Hotline at (888) 425-2385.
Don’t drive into water on roadways. The National Weather Service reminds motorists it only takes two feet of rushing water to carry away most sport utility vehicles and pickups. Take a different route to reach your destination or wait until the water recedes. Remember most flood related deaths occur in automobiles. Turn around, don’t drown.
State Health Department County Health Administrators and personnel are working with local nursing homes, care facilities, and hospitals to ensure safety of all their patients and personnel. Currently, they are monitoring the situation with the local emergency managers.
No shelters reported open at this time.
Rogers County Emergency Management reports roadways countywide are flooded. Multiple motorist rescues due to flood waters. Apartments at one complex had four feet of flood water inside. Flooding also reported at Rogers County Courthouse. At least one bridge is washed out and local fire departments responded on a structure fire this morning. Numerous departments are providing mutual aid.
Cherokee, Delaware, Mayes, Ottawa and Sequoyah county emergency management departments also report numerous roadways are closed due flash flooding. Numerous reports of motorists requiring rescue after becoming stranded in flood waters. Some homes and businesses are also flooded.
Comanche County Emergency Management continues to monitor East Cache Creek which is currently six feet above flood stage. County road crews are assessing damage to roadways that occurred in flooding earlier this week.