Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 4, 2007 -- Situation Update 7
STATE CONTINUES TO ASSIST WITH PANHANDLE WINTER STORM RESPONSE
The State Emergency Operations Center (EOC) received the following reports related to the winter storm that moved through the Panhandle on Friday and Saturday. Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management (OEM) staff remains in contact with emergency managers in the affected areas.
State and local officials continue to assist Panhandle residents impacted by last week's winter storm. Especially hard hit were Cimarron and Texas counties where upwards of four feet of snow fell and high winds created up to 20-foot snow drifts in some areas.
No fatalities reported. One injury reported. On Tuesday, a stranded female cancer patient in need of medication and treatment was transported from her Cimarron County home to the hospital in Boise City.
A State of Emergency, as declared by Gov. Brad Henry, continues for Beaver, Cimarron and Texas counties. The declaration provides a formal mechanism for local governments within Beaver, Cimarron and Texas counties to seek reimbursement for recovery costs through the state's disaster public assistance program.
Oklahoma National Guard personnel continue to assist with welfare checks on residents in isolated communities and rural areas in Cimarron County. Teams of local officials, Oklahoma Department of Transportation, Oklahoma Highway Patrol and Guard personnel are completing the welfare checks after OEM and local officials received numerous calls from individuals in Oklahoma and other states when they were unable to contact loved ones in some areas of the Panhandle. OEM is assisting with coordination efforts from the State EOC and the local command post located in Boise City. Today, teams are concentrating on an area north and northeast of Kenton where four homeowners remain stranded by snow-packed roads. Local officials have been in contact with the residents who are in good condition.
The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) has staff at the Boise City Command Post to assist with any health-related needs. The Medical Reserve Corps has provided an emergency department physician and nurse to assist at Cimarron Memorial Hospital in Boise City. OSDH has also coordinated pharmaceutical deliveries to the hospital.
Today, the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry began airdrops of hay for livestock stranded on Cimarron County ranches. The hay is dropped from a National Guard Chinook helicopter out of Lexington. A crew of seven Guard personnel is assisting with the effort which is stationed out of the Boise City Airport. The hay is needed for an estimated 5,000 head of cattle and other livestock and is from the Felt and Boise City areas. The Chinook helicopter can hold up to five round bales of hay per flight. Oklahoma Agriculture Secretary Terry Peach is overseeing the operation from the Boise City Command Post. Assistant State Veterinarian Dr. Michael Herrin is serving as incident commander for the hay drop effort.
A joint preliminary damage assessment team will survey damage in the affected Panhandle areas beginning on Friday. The team will include county and city officials as well as representatives of OEM, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Tri-County Electric Cooperative and the Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives (OAEC). The team will document any damage to public facilities, roads and bridges as well as damage to the electric system.
Another Oklahoma National Guard Chinook helicopter and crew of four continue to assist with hay drops for stranded cattle in Colorado. The State of Colorado requested the helicopter and crew under the Emergency Management Assistance Compact, which is a mutual aid agreement between states. The Guard personnel are working out of Pueblo, CO.
OAEC reports about 2,000 Tri-County Electric Cooperative customers remain without power. Power has been returned in all municipalities throughout Cimarron and Texas Counties. Primarily the outages continue for rural customers in an area of southeastern Cimarron County and the western one-third of Texas County. Significant snow drifts on some county roads continue to limit access for power restoration crews. In addition to crews sent by six other electric cooperatives from across Oklahoma (38 personnel), Tri-County continues to work with four contract construction crews.
None reported at this time.
ODOT reports almost all highways in Cimarron County are clear however, there are some small areas of patchy ice on the paved shoulders. Blowing snow is possible in some areas and these areas are subject to slick spots if it does occur. SH 325 west of Boise City has one lane open. Roads in Texas and Beaver counties are clear however, they remain slick in some spots. For Oklahoma road conditions, call 888-425-2385. For road conditions in other affected states, call: Colorado 303-639-1111; Kansas 800-585-7623; New Mexico 800-432-4269; and Texas 800-452-9292.
Shelters and Mass Feeding
A shelter continues to operate at the Fairgrounds Building in Boise City.
Next Situation Update: As necessary.