Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management
Situation Update 1
August 30, 2008, 1:30 p.m.
OKLAHOMA STANDING BY TO ASSIST GULF COAST STATES IN ADVANCE OF HURRICANE GUSTAV
State and local officials are standing by to assist neighboring states impacted by Hurricane Gustav. The storm is now a major category 4 hurricane and is anticipated to make landfall early Tuesday between Houston, Texas and Mobile, Alabama.
The State Emergency Operations Center (EOC) is activated. Officials with the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management (OEM) are working with FEMA and officials in Texas and Louisiana to provide assistance should it be needed.
Gov. Brad Henry has declared a state of emergency for Oklahoma. This serves as a precursor to requesting federal disaster assistance should Oklahoma receive evacuees.
Evacuations are underway in Louisiana coastal areas to include New Orleans. Within the next 24 hours about 150 patients from southwest Louisiana hospitals are expected to arrive at the Oklahoma Air National Guard Base at Will Rogers Airport in Oklahoma City. The patients are being evacuated by air transport through the National Disaster Medical System (NDMS). Once in Oklahoma City, the evacuees will be transported to area hospitals by EMSA and other ambulance services. This NDMS evacuation to Oklahoma is being coordinated through the Oklahoma State Department of Health, Medical Emergency Response Center and OEM.
Hurricane warnings continue for the Cayman Island and parts of western, southern Cuba.
The eye of Gustav is located near the Isle of Youth. Movement is toward the northwest at 14 mph and this track is expected to continue the next 24 hours. Maximum sustained winds are near 145 mph and additional strengthening is forecast with Gustav, possibly making Category 5 status. Hurricane force winds extend outward to 70 miles from the center and tropical storm force winds to 175 miles. All persons in eastern Texas, Louisiana, and Alabama are urged to monitor the progress of Gustav and be prepared for hurricane watches later today.
At this time officials anticipate that Gustav will make landfall Tuesday morning most likely on the Louisiana coast. There may also be a bend to the west, which would take Gustav into east Texas.
Please Do Not Self-Deploy
Oklahomans are discouraged from self-deploying to the Gulfport regions where evacuations are already or soon will be underway. In most cases, access to the affected areas, requires proper credentials and travel documents. As Oklahoma receives requests for personnel, equipment and supplies, OEM will look to local county and municipal emergency managers to identify the needed resources. OEM will work through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC), an interstate mutual aid agreement, to deploy resources to the affected areas.
How Can Oklahomans Help?
Monetary donations are best. A number of the disaster relief agencies Oklahoma has always depended on in disaster times are already working to assist those affected by Gustav. Oklahomans are urged to give to the disaster relief agency of their choice, to include the American Red Cross, The Salvation Army and other faith-based organizations. Go to www.okvoad.org for a list of disaster relief organizations.