Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 30, 2007 – 3 p.m. Update #9
Drier conditions prevailed across central and western Oklahoma today as the upper system responsible for recent rainfall has moved northward into Kansas. An area of showers and thunderstorms developed in eastern Oklahoma. Flash flooding is possible given saturated grounds across much of the state.
The upper low is forecast to move back into Oklahoma on Sunday with the potential for additional excessive rainfall. A flash flood watch remains posted for all of central and parts of western and eastern Oklahoma through Sunday evening.
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.
The American Red Cross is operating shelters to help those displaced by flooding at the following locations:
Cache – First United Methodist Church – (No one stayed overnight)
Lawton – Cameron Baptist Church, 2621 SW C Avenue. (10 people stayed overnight)
Officials with Southern Baptist Men’s Disaster Relief are providing meals for those impacted by the flooding. The Arbuckle Associational feeding unit is at Cameron Baptist Church in Lawton. Other feeding units are on standby to be activated if needed. Additionally, when flood waters recede, the relief organization will activate “mud-out teams,” which will assist residents and business owners as they clean up flooded homes and businesses.
Oklahoma Department of Transportation and Oklahoma Highway Patrol officials advise motorists to use extreme caution as they drive on Oklahoma roadways. Though roads may remain open, motorists are encouraged to find alternate routes if the road appears flooded. Motorists should drive for the conditions by slowing down and avoiding driving into any high water conditions.
ODOT reports due to changing weather conditions in Oklahoma and Texas, the Heartland Flyer may be unable to travel its scheduled route. If the train is unable to travel, Amtrak will bus train passengers to each stop from Oklahoma City’s Santa Fe Station to Fort Worth, Texas. The bus will depart from Oklahoma City at the Flyer’s regular time of 8:25 a.m. and return at its scheduled 9:39 p.m. arrival. To verify arrival and departure schedules, check passenger status or for information prior to departure, call 1-800-USA-RAIL.
The National Weather Service reports Cimarron River near Guthrie was 1.2 feet above flood stage and should fall this afternoon. Cimarron River near Perkins was at 1.6 feet above flood stage and is expected to crest 3.1 feet above flood stage and fall on Monday. Chickaskia River near Blackwell was 2.5 feet above flood stage and should fall on Sunday. Arkansas River near Tonkawa was 6.1 feet above flood stage and should fall on Tuesday. Around 2 p.m. water was released from Hulah Lake in Osage County. Moderate to heavy flooding is expected downstream which may adversely affect the Bartlesville area.
All 77 Oklahoma counties remain under a State of Emergency. The executive order issued by Gov. Brad Henry in May serves as a formal mechanism for local governments to seek reimbursement for recovery costs through the state’s public assistance program as conditions warrant.
Preliminary damage assessments for potential individual assistance will begin in Pottawatomie County on Monday. Joint teams representing OEM, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Small Business Administration will join Shawnee/Pottawatomie County Emergency Management officials in examining the damage to homes and businesses, primarily in Shawnee and Tecumseh. Additional PDAs will be requested for recently reported damages in Comanche County and other counties along the Red River. Residents and business owners who sustained uninsured or under-insured property damage are urged to report the damage information to their local emergency manager. OEM, FEMA and local officials continue to assess infrastructure damage caused by the flooding. The PDAs are needed to gauge whether damages meet the criteria to qualify for disaster assistance.
Oklahoma Military Department water trailers remain in Ralston to provide potable water to the Pawnee County community of 355. On Friday, a water main break left the town in need of water.
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.
Local Damage Reports
Comanche County Emergency Management reports some homes in the Garden Village subdivision in Lawton have sustained flood damage. High water in the area is preventing a complete assessment at this time. Mandatory evacuation continues for the east side subdivision. A voluntary evacuation continues for Turtle Creek. About 200 homes are at risk for flooding in the two east Lawton subdivisions. Shelters remain open in Lawton and Cache. The water levels at Lakes Lawtonka and Ellsworth continue to taper off. Although water levels remain high, the absence of rain throughout the morning has allowed the floodgates to be lowered at a steady pace. The Lake Lawtonka Dam has seven gates opened at 16" while the Lake Ellsworth Dam has 15 gates opened at 19". Some roads remain closed although I-44 north of Lawton is now open. For information regarding road closings, go to www.comanchecounty.us
Jefferson County Emergency Management reports a massive amount of water was released from Waurika Lake into Beaver Creek in downtown Waurika. With all the water problems in the last 48 to 72 hours, low level flooding is expected and as many as 75-100 homes may be affected.
Kingfisher County Emergency Management reports water from Kingfisher Creek is receding and no homes, businesses were affected over night. Around 2 a.m. today high water was reported over US-81 but water receded after about an hour. Some agriculture crop lands and county roads are under water due to the Cimarron River. Turkey Creek is holding steady and not causing any flooding at this time.
Kiowa County Emergency Management reports the shelter in Snyder closed at noon today. Three homes sustained flood damage; the worst had two feet of water inside.
Walters Emergency Management reports flood damage to more than 40 homes during the last week. Damage assessments will be completed next week.