State of Oklahoma
State Capitol Building
Oklahoma City OK 73105
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE January 3, 2007
In Wake of Panhandle Snowstorm, Gov. Henry Expands Emergency Order to Include Cimarron, Beaver Counties
Oklahoma City -- In the wake of a devastating snowstorm last week that crippled parts of the Oklahoma Panhandle, Gov. Brad Henry said the state continues to make significant headway bringing relief to the impacted counties.
The Governor today amended a previous State of Emergency declaration to include Cimarron County and Beaver County. The change extends an emergency order that Gov. Henry had issued for Texas County on Dec. 21, 2006.
The declaration makes it easier for local governments to seek reimbursement for recovery costs through the state's public assistance program.
The Governor noted that recovery efforts have involved the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management; National Guard; Department of Transportation; Highway Patrol; and Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry.
"Many people in both the public and private sectors have been working tirelessly and around the clock to help the Panhandle recover from a massive storm that dumped about four feet of snowfall," Gov. Henry said. "There is more work to be done, but I am grateful for the substantial progress that has been made."
Because huge snow drifts are preventing many farmers in the area from being able to get hay to stranded cattle, an incident command team of the Agriculture Department is in the Panhandle to finalize how best to proceed with a hay airdrop. Gov. Henry directed Secretary of Agriculture Terry Peach to personally oversee the work of the incident command team.
There are an estimated 380,000 head of cattle in Cimarron and Texas counties.
The Oklahoma Cattlemen's Association has established a Panhandle Ranch Rescue Fund to help purchase hay and feed for beleaguered farmers and ranchers. People who want to contribute to the fund can send their donation to the following:
Panhandle Ranch Rescue Effort
Oklahoma Cattlemen's Association
2500 Exchange Avenue
Oklahoma City, OK 73108
Public safety also remains a top priority as the Panhandle digs out from under the snow. Since Jan. 1, Oklahoma National Guard personnel have conducted welfare checks on residents who have been without power.