Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 11, 2007 -- 3 p.m. Update #10
STORM DAMAGE REPORTS
The Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management (OEM) continues to receive damage reports related to the flooding, severe storms and tornadoes that moved through the state since Friday, May 4. OEM personnel remain in contact with local emergency managers whose jurisdictions were affected by the storms. OEM will conduct joint preliminary damage assessments as soon as the floodwaters recede.
Recovery efforts continue in many Oklahoma cities and towns including Cache, Indiahoma, Medicine Park, Apache, El Reno and Sweetwater. Additionally, recovery efforts continue in many rural county areas, including those in Atoka, Beckham, Comanche, Ellis, Roger Mills and Woodward counties.
OEM has received disaster declarations from Atoka, Beckham, Comanche, Kiowa and Lincoln counties and the Town of Sweetwater and City of El Reno.
The National Weather Service (NWS) reports, in the past week, the state has seen an average of two to three inches of rain. The Oklahoma Mesonet Network shows Minco, El Reno and Atoka all received more than seven inches of rain. NWS has rated the El Reno tornado an EF 1 and the Sweetwater tornado an EF 3. Extended forecasts call for warm and dry conditions through Monday with a chance of rain returning on Tuesday.
· Gov. Brad Henry’s State of Emergency declaration for all 77 Oklahoma counties remains in effect. The declaration reiterates the availability of all state resources to Oklahoma cities, towns and counties. It provides a formal mechanism for local governments to seek reimbursement for recovery costs through the state’s disaster public assistance program, should conditions warrant. The declaration also serves as a prelude to a federal disaster request, should one be necessary.
· Oklahoma National Guard personnel and the water trailers stationed in Ralston have returned to the Stillwater armory. The city’s water main has been repaired and the Payne County community is no longer facing a threat of flooding.
· Crews from the Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT) continue to assist Beckham and Roger Mills county officials in Sweetwater. ODOT has provided equipment, including trucks and loaders, and continue to help residents impacted by last Saturday’s tornado.
Injuries and Fatalities
One fatality and two minor injuries are attributed to the rash of severe weather which began Friday.
· The Oklahoma Medical Examiner reports a Canute man drowned Sunday night following a one-vehicle accident. The man was driving along a county road two miles west and two miles north of Canute when his car was swept off the roadway due to high water during a thunderstorm, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol (OHP) reports.
· One man was injured when the truck he was driving was overturned Wednesday morning on I-40 as a tornado passed over the interstate near El Reno, OHP reports. Three other trucks were overturned at the same location. The individual was treated for injuries at a local hospital. His injuries were reported to be non-life threatening.
· One minor injury was reported in Sweetwater due to the Saturday evening tornado however, the resident declined medical treatment.
The Great Plains Chapter of the American Red Cross has opened an assistance center at Cameron Baptist Church in Lawton. Individuals who have damage to their homes and other property due to flooding and other severe weather can apply for assistance at the center.
Motorists are urged to avoid driving into high water. It only takes a minimal amount of moving water for cars to be swept away and there may be unseen damage to the road. Motorists who encounter flooded roads should turn around and find an alternate route. Flash floods are the number one cause of weather-related deaths in the nation.
ODOT reports the following road conditions.
· US-60 at Buck Creek, five miles west of Bartlesville in Osage County is closed and expected to reopen on Monday.
· SH-80 south of Hulbert at Ft. Gibson Lake in Cherokee County is closed due to high water.
· SH-5B north of Taylor between US-70 and SH-5A in Cotton County is closed due to high water.
Comanche County Emergency Management reports assistance continues for those affected by the severe weather. Just west of Cache, families in the Rock Creek Housing Addition continue clean up at their homes which were heavily damaged due to flash floods Tuesday evening. Officials with the American Red Cross Great Plains Chapter report three homes were destroyed and nine received major damage. In some cases, four feet of water and mud from nearby creeks flooded the homes. Fences are down and septic tanks are unusable. The Red Cross placed some families in motels while others stayed with friends and family. Red Cross officials continue to work with the families by providing financial and temporary housing assistance. The local Methodist Church has been providing meals and today Salvation Army officials from Lawton and the Southern Baptist Men began assisting with the feeding efforts. Comanche County homeowners and business owners are urged to report storm damages by calling 2-1-1. Callers will be asked to provide their name, address, contact information and a brief description of the damage they have incurred. The non-emergency number is operated 24-hours a day.
Kiowa County Emergency Management reports one home damaged by flooding. Water was about four feet deep in the yard surrounding the home and about five inches deep inside the home. Storm and flood waters are receding. All U.S. and state highways are open. However, a few county roads in northeast Kiowa County, primarily in the Mountain View, Sedan and Saddle Mountain areas, remain closed and impassible.
Norman Emergency Management reports 60th Avenue N.E. is closed between Tecumseh Road and Franklin Road due to roadway cave-in.