Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management
Situation Update 4
September 2, 2008 – 6 p.m.
OKLAHOMA CONTINUES TO ASSIST GULF COAST REGION IMPACTED BY HURRICANE GUSTAV
State and local officials continue to assist neighboring states impacted by Hurricane Gustav.
A State of Emergency, as declared by Gov. Henry, remains in effect for Oklahoma. The State Emergency Operations Center (EOC) remains activated. Officials with the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management (OEM) continue to work with FEMA and officials in Texas and Louisiana to provide assistance.
About 1,600 Louisiana evacuees remain at the Oklahoma City Evacuee Support Shelter, located at the old Lucent Technologies plant, 7725 W. Reno. The City of Oklahoma City continues to operate the shelter with assistance from numerous agencies and organizations, including the American Red Cross, Salvation Army, United Way of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Department of Human Services, Oklahoma City/County Health Department, Oklahoma County Emergency Management, Edmond Emergency Management, OEM and Southern Baptist Men’s Disaster Relief. At the same location, officials with the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food & Forestry continue to care for 28 pets of the evacuees including dogs, cats, hamsters and a cockatiel.
OEM continues to secure resources to support the shelter. Since Sunday, OEM has worked with FEMA, Oklahoma State Department of Health, American Red Cross, Oklahoma Highway Patrol, Oklahoma Military Department, the Oklahoma Department of Central Services and other partner agencies, departments and organizations to deliver cots, tables, chairs, blankets, meals ready to eat (MREs), bottled water, baby food, baby formula, diapers, baby bottles, port-a-potties, showers, hand wash stations, laundry stations, clothing, paper products, computers, faxes, copiers, personal hygiene products, towels, tents, forklifts, batteries, janitorial supplies, tractor trailers and refrigerator units, two-wheel and four-wheel equipment dollies, pet care supplies to include carriers, food, bowls and cat litter, a phone bank, and more.
Oklahoma remains on standby to assist with the National Disaster Medical Service (NDMS). On Sunday, Oklahoma received 97 patients evacuated from Louisiana hospitals through the NDMS. The patients were flown to the Oklahoma Air National Guard Base at Will Rogers Airport in Oklahoma City and transported to area hospitals by EMSA and other ambulance service providers. This NDMS evacuation to Oklahoma was coordinated through the Oklahoma State Department of Health, Medical Emergency Response Center (MERC) and OEM.
The center of Gustav’s remnants is located about 35 miles north of Shreveport, LA. and movement is toward the north-northwest at 8 mph. Maximum sustained winds are near 20 mph. The center of Tropical Storm Hanna is located 60 miles southeast of Great Inagua Island. Movement is toward the south-southeast at 5 mph and a turn toward the northwest is expected. Maximum sustained winds are near 65 mph. The center of Tropical Storm Ike is located about 1,030 miles east of the Leeward Islands. Movement is toward the west at 17 mph and this motion is expected to continue for the next 48 hours. Maximum sustained winds are near 65 mph and Ike is expected to become a hurricane within the next 24 hours. The center of Tropical Storm Josephine is located about 125 miles southwest of the southernmost Cape Verde Islands. Movement is toward the west-northwest at 14 mph and this motion is expected to continue the next 24 to 48 hours. Maximum sustained winds are near 50 mph. Potential impacts from Tropical Depression Gustav appear confined to far eastern Oklahoma. Only the far eastern row of Oklahoma should be impacted with 4 to 8 inches of rain possible. The remnants of Gustav should rapidly move northeast on Thursday. Hanna appears to be headed for the eastern coast, but the track is not yet clear. Despite this, Hanna is a strong tropical storm and its impacts appear limited to a small part of the eastern U.S. Ike continues to get organized and may reach hurricane status by tomorrow. This system will need to be closely monitored as the five day track continues to have it very close to the Gulf on Sunday.
Oklahoma Assisting Impacted States
OEM continues to support requests for equipment and personnel sent to the hurricane-ravaged area through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC), an interstate mutual aid agreement. The following resources have been or are in the process of being deployed.
The Oklahoma Military Department sent personnel and equipment to assist with search and rescue efforts in Texas and Louisiana, including five aero-medical personnel, an OH-58 helicopter and crew, and a C-23 cargo plane and crew.
The Oklahoma Highway Patrol and Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office deployed 20 personnel each to assist with law enforcement duties in Louisiana. The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation also sent 11 rangers to assist law enforcement officers in Louisiana. Additionally, while en route to Louisiana, OHP personnel assisted with an injury crash near Longview, Texas.
The Oklahoma Highway Patrol (OHP) planned to send 11 personnel, two airboats and three rescue boats to Gonzales, La. to assist with search and rescue efforts. This morning this request for assistance was cancelled.
OEM continues to discourage Oklahomans from self-deploying to the Gulf Coast region impacted by Gustav. In most cases, access to the affected areas, requires proper credentials and travel documents. As Oklahoma continues to receive requests for personnel, equipment and supplies, OEM will look to local county and municipal emergency managers to identify the needed resources and work through EMAC to deploy resources to the affected areas.
Additionally, the following departments and organizations are providing assistance to those impacted by the hurricane.
Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) continues to support evacuees through the operation of a medical clinic at the Oklahoma City Evacuee Support Shelter. The Oklahoma Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) has provided as many as 68 volunteers daily to provide assistance for the OSDH-run clinic. Volunteers interested in becoming a part of MRC are encouraged to apply at www.OKMRC.org. The OU College of Pharmacy and Integris Health have also provided critical assistance in meeting the needs of the evacuee population.
The Oklahoma State Department of Health has also collaborated in supporting 30 patients evacuated from Louisiana hospitals through the National Disaster Medical System (NDMS).
Oklahoma Department of Human Services (OKDHS) has 34 employees assisting city, county and state officials at the Oklahoma City Evacuee Support Shelter in Oklahoma City. OKDHS staff helped prepare the shelter to receive evacuees. They continue their efforts by providing cross-level coordination of services, along with other staff on location for sanitation, receiving and distribution of supplies, volunteer assignment coordination and logistics administration. OKDHS staff is also providing social services help on location, as needed. Additionally, the department has activated its Continuity of Operations System across the state. All 91 OKDHS Human Services Centers are prepared to help citizens with various social service needs as they enter communities around Oklahoma. OKDHS is bracing across the eastern and southern portions of the state to help where needed as rains from the Gustav storm system arrive later today and tomorrow.
Oklahoma Gas & Electric (OG&E) is sending 74 personnel to assist with hurricane restoration efforts in Louisiana. They will assist CLECO Power in the LaFayette, LA, area, with restoration of local electric distribution infrastructure and restoration of cross-country, high-voltage transmission infrastructure. Of CLECO's 277,000 customers in Louisiana, 93 percent are reported to be without electric service at this time. OG&E personnel will leave for Louisiana on Wednesday morning. This is a similar response to three years ago when OG&E crews -- distribution and transmission -- responded to assist CLECO after Hurricane Katrina. In all, OG&E had crews in Louisiana for 56 days and nights after Katrina, switching out the crewmen twice after intervals of 18 to 20 days. Also, CLECO was among the first to respond when OG&E put out the call for assistance following the Oklahoma ice storm last December.
Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives reports 12 Oklahoma-based electric cooperatives either have sent or will be sending power line restoration crews by Friday to New Roads, La, about 35 miles northwest of Baton Rouge. The electric coops providing assistance are: Canadian Valley Electric Cooperative, Seminole; Cimarron Electric Cooperative, Kingfisher; East Central Oklahoma Electric Cooperative, Okmulgee; Kiamichi Electric Cooperative, Wilburton; Lake Region Electric Cooperative, Hulbert; Northeast Oklahoma Electric Cooperative, Vinita; Verdigris Valley Electric Cooperative, Collinsville; Rural Electric Cooperative, Lindsay; Northwestern Electric Cooperative, Woodward; Cookson Hills Electric Cooperative, Stigler; Oklahoma Electric Cooperative, Norman; and, People’s Electric Cooperative, Ada. About 70 electric coop personnel will be assisting.
How Can Oklahomans Help?
Monetary donations are best. A number of the disaster relief agencies Oklahomans always depend 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.
Evacuees Should Dial 2-1-1
Evacuees are encouraged to call 2-1-1 for non-emergency disaster or health and human service information. Services are available 24 hours a day by dialing 2-1-1 from your home or cellular telephone. The Oklahoma Department of Transportation is assisting in this public education effort by displaying “Evacuation Info call 211” on message boards located on key interstates and highways.