Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management
Situation Update 3
February 1, 2011 – 3:15 p.m.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Michelann Ooten, Public Information Officer
WINTER STORM BLOWS ACROSS STATE
Due to the winter storm, the State Emergency Operations Center (EOC) is activated and the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management (OEM) is in contact with emergency managers in the affected areas. Agencies and organizations represented at the State EOC include the: Salvation Army, Oklahoma Military Department, Oklahoma State Department of Health, American Red Cross, Oklahoma Department of Human Services, Oklahoma Highway Patrol, Oklahoma Corporation Commission and Oklahoma Department of Transportation.
Oklahoma remains under a State of Emergency, as declared by Gov. Mary Fallin. 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.
All state offices in Canadian, Cleveland, Garfield, Lincoln, Logan, McClain, Oklahoma and Pottawatomie counties will remain closed Wednesday. Numerous schools and businesses throughout the state will also remain closed due to the hazardous road conditions.
Snowfall will end across eastern sections of the state later this afternoon. Even though the snow has ended conditions outdoors will remain quite treacherous. Strong winds will continue through the overnight hours and when combined with bitterly cold temperatures will produce wind chills well below zero. Temperatures will remain below freezing through Friday.
The Oklahoma Highway Patrol (OHP) is reporting numerous road closures.
US 69 at Calera is closed due to an overturned semi-tractor trailer.
I-40 westbound at mile marker 221 is closed.
I-40 westbound at mile marker 212 is closed. .
I-40 westbound near Tiger Mountain between mile marker 250 and 252 is closed due to several semi-tractor trailers blocking the roadway.
I-35 near mile marker 50 is closed due to semi-tractor trailers in the roadway unable to navigate the steep hills.
Will Rogers Turnpike from Tulsa to Missouri state line is closed due to drifting snow and disabled vehicles.
Stranded motorists and disabled vehicles have caused Hwy 75, 2 miles south of Bartlesville to close. Wreckers will not respond due to the severity of the storm.
Crews continue to monitor road conditions.
The Oklahoma National Guard is assisting stranded motorists on the Will Rogers, Turner, H.E. Bailey and Cimarron turnpikes as well as on I-40 east from the Seminole exit.
The Oklahoma Department of Transportation reports, for Oklahoma road conditions, call 888-425-2385. For the latest conditions on Oklahoma Turnpikes, call 1-877-403-7623.
For road conditions in neighboring states call: Texas, 800-452-9292; Kansas, 866-511-5368; Arkansas, 800-245-1672; and Missouri, 800-222-6400.
OKLAHOMANS URGED TO AVOID TRAVEL
Oklahomans are still urged to avoid travel. If travel is unavoidable, make sure you let someone know where you are going and the route you are taking and be sure to have the following items with you in your vehicle.
• A cell phone with charger and a battery powered radio.
• Windshield scraper, deicer, snow shovel and small broom for ice and snow removal.
• Several blankets or sleeping bags.
• Rain gear, warm coats and extra sets of dry clothing, mittens, socks and a cap.
• Non-perishable snacks like dried fruit, nuts and other high energy “munchies.”
• Several bottles of water. Eating snow will lower your body temperature so melt it first.
• Sand or cat litter for generating traction under wheels and a set of tire chains.
• Jumper cables, flashlight with extra batteries, first aid kit and brightly colored cloth to tie to antenna if you get stranded.
The Salvation Army reports they are on standby to assist any necessary mass care operations. Additionally, all Salvation Army centers are ready to accommodate the increased number of clients expected to seek shelter.
The American Red Cross has prepositioned supplies throughout the state in order to open shelters in the event there are mass power outages and/or stranded travelers. Transportation to such facilities may present some challenges due to expected road conditions. The American Red Cross is encouraging the public to shelter in place if possible.
Broken Arrow -- Indian Springs Baptist Church, 7815 S. Elm Place
Lawton -- Cameron Baptist Church 2821 SW C Ave
Lawton – Salvation Army 1306 SW E Ave
Newcastle -- Newcastle Community Center 851 N. Carr
Tulsa -- Crosstown Church of Christ, 3400 E. Admiral Place
Open Warming Stations:
Blanchard – Blanchard Middle School 400 N. Harrison Ave
Bristow -- First Baptist Church 6th and Chestnut
Claremore -- North Park Trinity Baptist Church, 2999 N. Sioux
Henryetta -- Church of Christ, 413 W. Broadway
McAlester -- Main & Oklahoma Church of Christ, South Business 69
Miami -- First Christian Church, 2424 N. Main
Muskogee -- First United Methodist Church, 600 E. Okmulgee Street
Okemah -- First Baptist Church, 120 S. 6th
Tishomingo -- Church of the Nazarene 300 S Muldrow
Vinita -- Family Praise Center, 330 W. Dwain Willis Avenue
Warner -- First Baptist Church, 810 N. 2nd Ave
Woodward – American Red Cross 1211 9th St
Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma City is closed to aircraft operations today. Airport maintenance crews worked through the night in an effort to keep a runway operational, but snow accumulation, high winds and low visibility made efforts difficult. All commercial flights were cancelled through this afternoon. The airport advises avoiding visits to the airport until the airport has reopened and arriving and departing flights are confirmed.
Over the weekend OEM secured from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) industrial size generators along with bottled water, MREs (meals ready to eat), cots and blankets. The resources remain available for use in shelters opened due to stranded motorists or power outages. The generators will also be used to provide power to water treatment plants in the event of electric service disruptions. The FEMA generators will augment the industrial size generators OEM already has positioned around the state. Please note these generators are NOT for residential use.
The Oklahoma Corporation Commission reports 1,759 power outages related to the storm.
The Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives reports 1,000 Red River Valley REA customers are without power near Madill, due an accident where a semi-tractor trailer slid off the highway and hit three of Red River Valley REA's distribution poles.
PSO reports 431 customers without power. The largest service disruption is in Bixby where they have 139 electric customers without service. Additionally, in Bartlesville, 96 customers are without service.
OG&E reports 328 without service statewide, including 123 in north Oklahoma City.
PRICE GOUGING STATUTE IN EFFECT
Oklahoma’s price gouging statute is 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 reported 3 injuries overnight due to motor vehicle accidents. All 3 individuals were released after being treated for minor injuries. Healthcare facilities are fully operational with no reported delays in emergency rooms. County health departments across the state have been closed with the exception of McCurtain County. Emergency Medical Services reported white-out conditions across Oklahoma overnight. Some areas could experience a short delay in ambulance service getting to the scene.
Checotah Emergency Management reports 8 inches of snow on the ground with drifts of 16-20 inches. City crews are unable to keep up with snowfall. Visibility is 1 block. Checotah City Hall is closed. Reports have been coming in of multiple vehicles off roadway on I-40, as well as city streets. Mayor Nichols has declared an emergency due to the crippling effects of the snow. Checotah Police Department has been checking on stranded motorist that are stuck on the roadways, as well as the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.
Grady County Emergency Management reports two grass fires caused by lightning occurred last night as the storm moved through. One oil well site was also hit by lightning. Crews from Grady County Fire Department assisted company personnel in responding to the fire. Roads throughout Grady County are snow packed. County offices are closed along with all schools and a large number of businesses. Public service announcements advised residents to stay home and they seem to be doing just that. County emergency operations center is staffed at a minimum level.
Washington County Emergency Management reports Highway 10 mostly clear with drifts in spots. City and county road crews are working 12 hour shifts around the clock. Local Oklahoma Department of Transportation has ceased operations until the storm passes. City of Bartlesville crews are clearing Hwy 75 inside the city limits. Rescue crews and sheriff deputies are checking on stranded motorists.
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.
Washington County Emergency
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 @OKEM
Next Situation Update: As conditions warrant