Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 28, 2007 – 9 a.m. Update #6
Heavy rain continued across many areas of the state on Wednesday. In Oklahoma City it was the 15th consecutive day for the area to receive rainfall, breaking a 70-year-old record. Creeks and rivers jumped their banks causing localized flash flooding to roadways and some homes. Local responders continued to rescue motorists caught in high water conditions. Hardest hit areas are in Garfield, Kingfisher, Lincoln, Love, Okmulgee and Pottawatomie counties.
A flash flood watch continues in effect through tonight for much of Oklahoma, with the exception of northwest sections. The weak low pressure system responsible for the recent rainfall and flooding is forecast to remain in the region through the weekend.
The Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management (OEM) continues to receive damage reports from counties, cities and towns impacted by storms and flooding. OEM remains in contact with emergency managers in the affected areas.
Injuries and Fatalities
On June 18, three people sustained minor injuries when their pickup washed down a creek in Pontotoc County. All three were rescued: two were treated at the scene; one was transported to a nearby hospital. No additional injuries reported.
No storm related power outages reported at this time.
No shelters reported open at this time.
The Oklahoma Department of Transportation and Oklahoma Highway Patrol remind motorists to slow down, drive for wet road conditions and avoid driving into high water or any moving water. It only takes a minimal amount of moving water for cars to be swept away. 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.
All 77 Oklahoma counties remain under a State of Emergency.
Oklahoma Military Department water trailers remain in Chickasha to provide potable water for the southern portion of the community which remains under a mandatory boil order. OEM deployed the water trailers after the city lost a substantial amount of treated water Tuesday night due to a water main break.
OEM and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) representatives continue to join local officials in conducting joint preliminary damage assessments (PDAs). The PDAs are needed to gauge whether the damages to infrastructure and the costs associated with responding to the storms meet the criteria to qualify for disaster assistance.
State and local officials are also in the process of confirming the number of homes and businesses damaged by the storms. Residents and business owners who sustained uninsured or under-insured property damage are urged to report the damage information to their local emergency manager.
A federal disaster declaration remains in effect for 17 Oklahoma counties to provide public assistance related to the severe storms, flooding and tornadoes that occurred in the state May 4-11. The 17 counties that qualified for public assistance are: Atoka, Beckham, Blaine, Caddo, Comanche, Dewey, Ellis, Greer, Kay, Kiowa, Lincoln, Noble, Nowata, Okfuskee, Pottawatomie, Roger Mills and Seminole. OEM and FEMA representatives are holding applicant briefings with local officials in the declared counties. An applicants' briefing is a meeting conducted to inform prospective applicants of available assistance and eligibility requirements for obtaining that assistance. OEM continues to work with officials in nine additional counties where damage from the May 4-11 storm was identified but where initial damage assessments in those counties did not meet the per capita requirement for federal disaster assistance. Additional damage surveys are now underway in Bryan, Canadian, Garfield, Grady, Hughes, Logan, McIntosh, Sequoyah and Woodward counties.
Local Damage Reports
Garfield County Emergency Management reports major flooding and major road damage throughout the county. The area received more than 7.5 inches of rain on Wednesday and 3.5 inches of that was received between 6 and 9:15 pm.
Lincoln County Emergency Management reports two families displaced by flooding.
Marietta/Love County Emergency Management reports the Red River is slowly but steadily rising and is currently over flood stage. The latest forecast calls for the river cresting at 30.8 feet at approximately 1 a.m. on Friday. Flood stage is 25.0 feet. Officials continue to battle rumor control regarding status of the I-35 Bridge. The bridge remains open and local officials do not anticipate it being closed. Texas Department of Transportation has closed a service road that goes underneath the bridge on the Texas side which has approximately two feet of water over the road.
Okmulgee County Emergency Management reports last night the Henryetta Fire Department, along with volunteers from the Schulter, Dewar, Wilson, and Plainview fire departments, evacuated about a dozen homes, and assisted the police and sheriff's department in blocking roads in both Henryetta and Dewar due to high water. Four water rescues were made after drivers attempted to drive through high water. Officials report seven houses sustained water damage inside.
Shawnee/Pottawatomie County Emergency Management reports recovery efforts continue especially in the Shawnee and Tecumseh areas were 46 homes sustained major damage and 60 homes and seven businesses sustained minor damage due to Tuesday’s flooding. Local officials continue to urge anyone with damage to structures to call (405) 878-1777. Reports will be taken daily from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Road damage reports continue and at least one bridge remains washed out.