ICE STORM CONTINUES TO IMPACT STATE
Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Situation Update 8
12-11-07, 11:30 a.m.
More than 600,000 homes, business without electric service
A federal emergency declaration remains in place for all 77 Oklahoma counties and authorizes federal resources to assist state and local governments as they continue to respond to the Ice Storm. All 77 counties also remain under a State of Emergency and the State Emergency Operations Center (EOC) remains activated. In addition to the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management (OEM), agencies and organizations represented at the EOC include the Oklahoma State Department of Health, Oklahoma Corporation Commission, Oklahoma Department of Transportation, Oklahoma Department of Public Safety, Oklahoma Military Department, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, OG&E, Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives, American Red Cross and the Salvation Army.
Industrial-sized generators and bottled water are being deployed through the State EOC to communities experiencing heavy power outages. The generators are used primarily to support shelters and keep water treatment plants on-line and have already been delivered to Beggs, Broken Arrow, Nowata, Paden and Vinita by the Oklahoma National Guard. Later today cots, blankets and meals ready to eat (MREs) are expected to arrive in the state as well. Please note these generators are industrial-size and NOT for residential use.
INJURIES AND FATALITIES
The number of Ice Storm-related fatalities remains at 12, according to the Oklahoma State Medical Examiners Office; 11 died in motor vehicle crashes and one died when a utility pole fell on his vehicle in Tulsa.
The Oklahoma State Department of Health reports Oklahoma City and Tulsa area hospitals are seeing an increased number of patients with possible Carbon Monoxide poisoning. Oklahomans are reminded of signs and symptoms and ways to avoid Carbon Monoxide poisoning. (See Safety Tips at end of report) The National Weather Service is broadcasting Carbon Monoxide safety messages statewide via the NOAA Weather Radio network.
The Oklahoma Hospital Association reminds residents that hospitals should not be used as public shelters due to power outages. Hospitals need all resources and space at this time to care for patients in need of medical treatment. In addition, it appears that many are presenting at emergency rooms statewide with minor, non-urgent needs in order to find shelter. The first priority for emergency rooms is to care for those with urgent medical needs. Others displaced by the storm should seek shelter at one of the emergency public shelters available across the state.
Oklahoma Corporation Commission reports statewide more than 634,749 homes and businesses are without electric service.
AEP-PSO reports 253,843 customers without power, including 225,769 in the Tulsa metro area, 6,462 in Bartlesville and 4,898 in Chickasha.
OG&E reports 289,058 customers without power, including 260,174 in the Oklahoma City metro area, 11,434 in Sapulpa and 3,045 in Bristow.
Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives reports about 73,420 rural electric customers without power. OAEC also reports 776 electric poles down.
Empire District Electric Company reports 3,428 customers without power in and around the Northeast communities of Commerce, Fairland, Picher, Quapaw and Welch.
Municipal Electric Systems of Oklahoma reports about 15,000 customers without power in Miami, Mannford, Stroud, Collinsville, Skiatook, Pryor and Cushing.
OG&E has implemented customer walk-up stations at the following locations. The stations provide customers without power a place to talk to an OG&E representative. They can report their electric outage if they haven’t already done so. Meter bases are also available, which are often required to be replaced (installed by an electrician) before some customers with property damage can have electric service restored.
Bethany -- 7101 NW. 23 (Homeland Grocery)
Bristow -- 601 N. Main St. (Spirit Bank)
Drumright -- Broadway & Curtis (Williams Food)
Midwest City -- Reno & Midwest Blvd (Target)
Norman -- 1724 W. Lindsey St. (Homeland Grocery)
Oklahoma City -- 9225 N. May Ave (Homeland Grocery)
Oklahoma City -- 4301 S. May Ave (Homeland Grocery)
Sapulpa -- Main & Taft -- (Westlake Hardware)
Advisories and warnings have all expired. Temperatures have warmed above freezing across much of the state. Rainfall is occurring in many locations with no additional freezing rain expected through the afternoon hours. Light freezing rain may occur during the overnight hours however, significant impacts are not expected.
SHELTERS AND MASS FEEDING
Shelters are open at the following 30 locations. The American Red Cross reports 1,342 individuals stayed at shelters last night.
Bixby - New Beginnings Church, 4104 E. 151st
Broken Arrow - Arrow Heights Church, 3201 S. Elm Place
Carney - Community Center, 701 S. Highway 177
Chandler - First Baptist Church, 912 W. First
Chickasha - Bible Baptist Church, 1828 S. 13th Street
Claremore - First United Methodist Church, 1615 N. Highway 88
Collinsville - First Baptist Church, 1301 W. Main
Commerce - Southeast Baptist Church, 206 Amarillo Drive
Del City - Community Center, 4505 SE 15th
Guthrie - Education Building at Fair Grounds
Ketchum - Methodist Church, 206 Amarillo Drive
Mannford - Community Activity Center, 100 Common Ave.
Meeker - City Hall
Miami - Assembly of God, 1815 E. Steve Owens Blvd.
Midwest City - Reed Center, 5800 Will Rogers
Moore - Brand Senior Center, 501 E. Main
Norman - North Haven Church, 4600 NW. 36
NewCastle - 851 N. Car
Oklahoma City - Trinity Baptist Church, 1329 N.W. 23rd
Owasso - First Christian, 56 and 122nd East
Pitcher - 100 Deville Creek
Pryor - Community Center, 6 N. Adair
Rolling Hills - Independent Shelter (no info)
Sapulpa - First Baptist Church, 200 S. Elm
Shawnee - Expo Center, 1700 W. Independence
Sperry - First Baptist Church, 115 N. Cincinnati ( independent shelter)
Tulsa - First Baptist Church, 403 S. Cincinnati
Tulsa - Asbury United Methodist Church, 6767 S. Mingo
Vinita - Emmanuel Temple, 437551 East Highway 60
Wyandott - Community Center, 110 S. Main
The Salvation Army reports the following efforts.
Tulsa: Three canteens are in place. They are providing meals to the Tulsa EOC, three command centers set up in the Tulsa metro area, and the staging areas for electric restoration crews. Tulsa Center of Hope is open as a shelter and warming station.
Bartlesville: They are providing meals and snacks for a shelter set-up by the American Red Cross.
Sapulpa: They are working with the First Baptist Church to help provide meals and shelter as needed.
OHP has worked more than 300 injury and non-injury wrecks since Saturday night.
For Oklahoma Road Conditions call 888-425-2385, a toll-free information line operated by the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety. For road conditions in neighboring states call: Texas, 800-452-9292; Kansas, 866-511-5368; Arkansas, 800-245-1672; and Missouri, 800-222-6400.
Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT) reports higher temperatures have helped to improve driving conditions across most of the state. However, temperatures remain below freezing in the Panhandle with Cimarron County reporting light snow. Elsewhere pavement is wet. The main concern across the state is downed trees and power lines, which could impact highways if they fall onto the roadway or result in traffic signals not working. Non-working traffic signals should be treated as four-way stops. Motorists are urged to remain cautious as a drop in temperatures could cause refreezing of water on the roadways, particularly on bridges and overpasses. Motorists should be aware of “black ice" which appears wet on the roadway, but is a thin layer of ice.
The Oklahoma Turnpike Authority reports there is no fuel available on the Turner and Will Rogers turnpikes. Power is out at the fuel stations which supply gasoline. Motorists are encouraged to fuel up before getting on the turnpikes.
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 in the following counties. Due to high call volumes, you may receive a busy signal when calling 2-1-1. We are here 24/7, so please continue to call 2-1-1 for disaster related information.
Tulsa Area/Green Country, dial 2-1-1 or 918-836-4357
OKC Metro/Central OK, dial 2-1-1 or 405-286-4057
Southeastern OK, dial 2-1-1 or 580-332-0558
Northeast OK, dial 2-1-1 or 918-336-2255
Southwest OK, dial 2-1-1 or 580-355-7575
The Oklahoma State Department of Health offers the following safety tips related to the Ice Storm.
Heating Safety: When temperatures fall and power goes out, the possibility of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning rises as people try to stay warm. Invisible, odorless and tasteless, CO is a highly poisonous gas produced by the burning of fuel such as gasoline, natural gas, kerosene, charcoal or wood. Un-vented or faulty gas and kerosene appliances have the greatest potential to produce dangerous levels of CO in a home. Smoldering or poorly vented fireplaces, slow burning fuels such as charcoal and vehicle exhausts also are potential indoor hazards. Take these precautions:
Look at the color of the flame. A hot blue flame produces less CO and more heat than a flickering yellow flame. If you see yellow flames in your furnace or stove burner, it should be adjusted so that the flame is blue.
Don’t use an un-vented gas or kerosene heater in closed spaces, especially sleeping areas.
Don’t use gas appliances such as an oven, range or clothes dryer to heat your home.
Don’t burn charcoal inside a house, garage, vehicle or tent for heating or cooking, even in a fireplace.
Never use an electrical generator indoors or in an attached garage. Only operate it outdoors in a well-ventilated, dry area, away from air intakes to the home, and protected from direct exposure to rain and snow, preferably under a canopy, open shed or carport.
Look for CO exposure symptoms including headache, dizziness, weakness, sleepiness, nausea and vomiting that can progress to disorientation, coma, convulsions and death.
If you suspect CO poisoning, open doors and windows, turn off gas appliances, and go outside for fresh air. Call 9-1-1 emergency medical services in severe cases.
To prevent residential fires, make sure heaters, stoves, and fireplaces are at least three feet from anything that burns. Use screens in front of fireplaces, and do not leave children alone with space heaters. Never leave candles burning when you are not at home or while you are sleeping. If a heater uses fuel like propane or kerosene, use only that kind of fuel and add more fuel only when the heater is cool. Store all fuels outside in closed metal containers.
Food Safety: Power outages present problems with food safety as well as with heating. If people at home or those in food establishments have had a loss of power for more than four hours, take the following precautions with refrigerated food products:
Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible.
Discard any potentially hazardous foods such as meats, eggs, dairy products and leftovers that may have exceeded 41 F. When in doubt, throw it out.
Frozen foods in a freezer can normally be kept up to 48 hours without power. Again, the 41 F rule applies. A frozen product that has thawed should not be refrozen—it should be used immediately or disposed of. Thawed foods that have not reached 41 F can be cooked and consumed.