Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management
Situation Update 2
February 8, 2011 – 9:30 p.m.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Michelann Ooten, Public Information Officer
WINTER STORM IMPACTING STATE
Due to the latest winter storm to impact Oklahoma, the State Emergency Operations Center (EOC) has been activated. Agencies and organizations represented at the State EOC include the Oklahoma Military Department, Oklahoma State Department of Health, Oklahoma Highway Patrol, Oklahoma Corporation Commission, Oklahoma Department of Transportation, Oklahoma Turnpike Authority, FEMA, Salvation Army, American Red Cross and other disaster relief agencies.
A winter storm warning continues for all of Oklahoma. Widespread 4 to 6 inches of snow is likely with isolated areas of 10 inch accumulations. Six inches of snow was measured in Beaver County this evening. Snow drifts of 2 to 3 feet are also likely with blowing and drifting snow. Temperatures will be bitterly cold through Thursday with highs on Wednesday in the teens. Strong north winds will result in wind chills below zero and create dangerous exposure risks for those outdoors.
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 Oklahoma Highway Patrol is again urging motorists to stay indoors, and off state roadways during this next episode of winter weather. Low traffic volumes lightened the load for road-clearing crews and emergency responders during last week’s record breaking winter storm, and officials encourage Oklahomans to do the same during the current storm.
Roadways across the state are expected to be snow-packed, as well as slick and hazardous. While travel will be strongly discouraged, if travel is unavoidable make sure to dress appropriately and carry a cell phone.
The Oklahoma Department of Transportation crews report heavy snow with some accumulation in the panhandle with limited visibility due to blowing snow. In western and north central Oklahoma moderate snow is reported. Crews in those areas are out applying sand and salt. Crews in other areas statewide remain on standby and are monitoring conditions.
Light blowing snow is moving into the Oklahoma City metro area with no accumulation or hazardous conditions reported at this time. Crews in the Oklahoma City and Tulsa metros also remain on standby and are monitoring conditions. As precipitation increases and temperatures drop crews will begin treating bridges and overpasses.
For information regarding Oklahoma road conditions, call 888-425-2385 or go to www.dps.state.ok.us For the latest conditions on Oklahoma Turnpikes, call 1-877-403-7623 or go to www.pikepass.com.
For road conditions in neighboring states: Texas 800-452-9292, www.txdot.gov; Kansas 866-511-5368, www.511.ksdot.org; Arkansas 800-245-1672, www.arkansashighways.com; Colorado 303-639-1111, www.cotrip.org; New Mexico 800-432-4269, www.nmroads.com; and, Missouri 800-222-6400, www.modot.org.
The American Red Cross reports the following warming centers are open for any stranded motorists or others displaced by the storm.
Atoka -- Life Church, 2340 S. Mississippi Ave.
Bristow – First Baptist Church, 226 E. Sixth Ave.
Henryetta – Church of Christ, 413 W. Broadway
McAlester – Church of Christ, 1700 S. Main
Okemah – First Baptist Church, 120 S. Sixth
Sapulpa – Ridgeway Baptist, 7785 S. Highway 97
Tulsa – Crosstown Church of Christ, 3400 E. Admiral Place
The bottled water, cots, blankets and MREs (meals ready to eat) FEMA provided last week remain available for use in shelters and warming stations as needed for stranded motorists or power outages. Additionally, OEM has pre-positioned state industrial-sized generators around Oklahoma. Please note these generators are NOT for residential use.
All state offices in Canadian, Cleveland, Lincoln, Logan, McClain, Oklahoma and Pottawatomie counties will be closed Wednesday. Numerous schools and businesses will also be closed.
In anticipation of the heavy snowfall, at Will Rogers International Airport in Oklahoma City airlines cancelled the last arriving flights of the day along with originating flights Wednesday morning. As of 4 p.m., about 50 flights were cancelled. Currently, the earliest arrival is scheduled for mid-morning Wednesday.
Tulsa International Airport reports tonight’s late arriving flights and early morning departing flights on Wednesday are expected to be impacted by the winter storm. Travelers are advised to contact their airline before leaving for the airport to confirm their flight status.
PRICE GOUGING STATUTE IN EFFECT
Oklahoma’s price gouging statute remains in effect in all of Oklahoma’s 77 counties due to the State of Emergency. The price gouging statute prohibits an increase of more than 10 percent in the price of most goods and services when a State of Emergency has been declared. Anyone who suspects price gouging is urged to contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Unit at (405) 521-2029.
The Oklahoma State Department of Health reports its Situation Room is activated. Area hospitals are reporting they are providing for staff members to remain overnight. Additional fuel, supplies, staffing, housing, generators and communications with all healthcare partners are being activated. Citizens are reminded to remain home and to check on neighbors who are at-risk. If venturing outdoors take a cell phone in case of a slip or fall. During last week's snow storm more than 1,500 injuries were reported to OSDH officials. Many county health departments will be closed Wednesday due to the inclement weather. Residents are advised to call ahead before venturing out to visit one of the health department facilities.
For Oklahoma residents seeking non-emergency disaster or health and human service information, please contact your local 2-1-1. Services are available 24 hours a day by dialing 2-1-1 from your home or cellular telephone. Please only call 911 for emergencies.
WINTER WEATHER PREPAREDNESS TIPS
As the storm moves through the state, it’s important to remember these additional winter weather preparedness tips.
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.
- Let faucets drip a little to avoid freezing
- 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
Follow us on Twitter.com @OKEM
Next Situation Update: As conditions warrant