Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 12, 2009 – 9:30 p.m. – Situation Update 4
STORM RECOVERY CONTINUES ACROSS STATE
The State Emergency Operations Center (EOC) has returned to Level One activation. However, Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management (OEM) personnel remain in the field, assisting local jurisdictions in areas affected by Tuesday’s tornado outbreak.
STATE OF EMERGENCY
Gov. Brad Henry yesterday declared a state of emergency for 17 Oklahoma counties hit hard by the severe weather. The declaration is the first step toward seeking federal assistance. The counties included in the state of emergency are: Canadian, Carter, Cleveland, Garvin, Jefferson, Lincoln, Logan, Love, Murray, Oklahoma, Pawnee, Payne, Pontotoc, Pottawatomie, Nowata, Osage and Washington.
Preliminary damage assessments (PDAs) began today as teams made up of OEM, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Small Business Administration and local emergency management officials surveyed tornado damage to homes and businesses. The teams were in Lone Grove, northern Ardmore and other areas of Carter County as well as Oklahoma City, Edmond and southern Logan County. PDAs are expected to conclude Friday.
The damage assessments are needed to support a request for individual assistance. If individual assistance is approved for the requested counties, Oklahomans who suffered uninsured storm-related damage in those areas would be eligible for assistance for housing repairs or temporary housing, U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) low-interest loans for individuals and businesses to repair or replace damaged property, disaster unemployment assistance, and grants for serious needs and necessary disaster expenses not met by other programs.
Additionally, a FEMA Operations Officer is located in the State EOC.
The Oklahoma Highway Patrol and members of the Oklahoma National Guard remain in Lone Grove assisting local law enforcement with perimeter control and security.
8 fatalities reported in Lone Grove
14 serious injuries reported in Lone Grove
3 minor injuries reported in Oklahoma City -- EMSA reports all were treated at the scene for debris and broken glass injuries in the NW Expressway and Rockwell area.
A strong storm system moved into Oklahoma Tuesday and combined with unseasonable warmth and moisture to produce widespread severe thunderstorms. The storms developed early afternoon across southwest and central Oklahoma producing tornadoes in Edmond, Oklahoma City, Pawnee, Wilson and Lone Grove. The National Weather Service rated the deadly Lone Grove tornado an EF 4. Initial assessments show the damage path near Lone Grove is about four miles long and a half-mile wide. The tornado that first touched down in northwest Oklahoma City and continued to Edmond was rated an EF 2. Another tornado hit south of Langston and it is rated and EF 0.
Tomorrow, National Weather Service meteorologists will continue their assessment of the Lone Grove tornado with an aerial survey. Members of the Oklahoma Civil Air Patrol will take the weather service officials along the storm’s path beginning in north Texas and continuing into south central Oklahoma.
OG&E has returned power to all customers whose homes, businesses can safely accept service.
SHELTERS, FEEDING AND OTHER ASSISTANCE
American Red Cross continues to operate a shelter at Heritage Hall Center, on West Broadway, in downtown Ardmore. Six people stayed at the shelter Wednesday night. Additionally, Red Cross is offering mental health assistance by providing professional counselors at the shelter. A total of 32 volunteers continue to assist in the Lone Grove area.
Salvation Army reports they have one canteen located at Lone Grove City Hall and three other mobile canteens providing assistance throughout the community. Snacks, bottled water, toiletry items and paper products are available on the canteens. Those impacted by the storm are urged to contact their local Salvation Army office for assistance.
The Red Cross, Salvation Army and Southern Baptist Disaster Relief are working together to provide meals for those impacted by the tornado along with first responders at First Baptist Church at 16773 US-70 in Lone Grove. Additionally, Southern Baptist Chain Saw Teams are in Lone Grove and other Carter County areas assisting homeowners where extensive amounts of trees and branches brought down by the storm are blocking access to driveways and where the debris is on rooftops of homes as well. They are also providing spiritual and emotional care.
Officials with Lone Grove Assembly of God Church are coordinating volunteer efforts. Anyone needing assistance in clearing debris or securing their home, or anyone wanting to volunteer to assist may call (580) 657- 4725.
Documents, photos and other items found from tornado victims should be turned in at the Lone Grove Police Department at 17817 US 70.