Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 6, 2007 -- Situation Update 9
STATE¿S WINTER STORM RESPONSE CONTINUES IN PANHANDLE
The State Emergency Operations Center (EOC) received the following reports related to the winter storm that moved through the Panhandle last Friday and Saturday. The Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management (OEM) is assisting with coordination efforts from the State EOC and the local command post located in Boise City.
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.
A weak storm system moved rapidly across Oklahoma yesterday and early this morning. The system produced light snowfall amounts of one to two inches across Cimarron and Texas counties. The main impact was strong winds of 15 to 25 mph. Today sunny skies and a high of 38 degrees are forecast for the area. Tonight's low will be in the teens.
No fatalities reported. One injury reported. Last Tuesday, a stranded female cancer patient in need of medication and treatment was transported from her Cimarron County home to a hospital in Clayton, N.M.
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.
Cimarron County Ranch Rescue, the state's hay relief effort to feed the estimated 8,500 livestock stranded by the winter storm continues. Officials with the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry (ODAFF) expect to deliver a minimum of 60 bales of hay which will feed about 3,000 cattle, horses, mules and donkeys. Today an additional Oklahoma Army National Guard Chinook helicopter will join the effort. Yesterday¿s poor weather conditions limited air drops and prevented a second Chinook from joining the effort. Despite the weather conditions yesterday, state agriculture officials delivered 62 round bales of hay, feeding an estimated 3,100 head of cattle. The Chinook flew eight missions delivering 24 large round bales and ground crews delivered 38 bales. The second Chinook was deployed from Lexington this morning. A total of 41 state and local personnel are working the hay relief effort representing ODAFF, OEM, Oklahoma Army National Guard and Cimarron County. Many area ranchers are also assisting with the effort. Oklahoma Agriculture Secretary Terry Peach is personally 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.
Joint preliminary damage assessment teams continue to survey damage in the affected areas of Texas and Cimarron counties. The teams include county and city officials as well as representatives of OEM and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The teams are documenting all damage to public facilities, roads and bridges as well as damage to the electric and phone systems caused by the Dec. 29 snow storm as well as the Dec. 19 ice storm. Their work should be complete today.
The Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives reports about 1,550 Tri-County Electric Cooperative customers remain without power, primarily in rural Texas and Cimarron counties. Tri-County officials report no additional problems caused by yesterday's weather. The main restoration effort is centered in Texas County. Electric crews are rotating in and out today and tomorrow, and Tri-County now has a total of 5 contractor crews assisting as well, up one from mid-week. In addition, several warehouse, power line staking, and customer service-emergency operations center personnel from various electric cooperatives around the state have arrived to assist Tri-County in their power restoration effort. Tri-County officials continue to report most customers who can safely receive electric service should have their power restored by Wednesday or Thursday at the latest.
None reported at this time.
The Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT) reports all state highways are open throughout the Panhandle. In Cimarron and Texas counties ODOT is salting and clearing roadways and continues to assist the county in clearing their roads. 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
No shelters are open at this time.