Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management
Situation Update 9
January 29, 2009 – 4:30 p.m.
WINTER STORM CONTINUES TO IMPACT STATE
The State Emergency Operations Center (EOC) has returned to Level One activation. Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management (OEM) staff has returned to regular hours while maintaining 24-hour contact with emergency managers in the affected areas through the duty officer. Additionally, OEM personnel remain in the field continuing to assist jurisdictions with electric, water and sheltering needs.
STATE OF EMERGENCY
A State of Emergency continues for all 77 Oklahoma counties, per executive order issued by Gov. Brad Henry on Monday. The executive order marks a first step toward seeking federal assistance should it be necessary. Additionally, the order allows state agencies to make emergency purchases and acquisitions needed to expedite the delivery of resources to local jurisdictions. The Governor also issued an executive order aimed at helping utility crews handle storm-related repairs, allowing a 30-day waiver on permit requirements for use of overweight and oversized vehicles.
FATALITIES AND INJURIES
Three fatalities are now attributed to the storm. One person died Wednesday in a wreck in Kay County. Two people died Monday in two separate crashes; one on the Turner Turnpike near Chandler and one on the Will Rogers Turnpike near Afton, according to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol (OHP). Since Monday, OHP has worked more than 1,150 weather related collisions, 200 involving injury.
The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) tracked medical care needs during the incident. Statewide Emergency Medical Services responded to approximately 853 motor vehicle accidents in which 527 individuals needed to be transported. OSDH tracked slips and falls injuries and statewide identified 482, with 353 requiring transport to a health care facility. Statewide there were also 14 sledding accidents in which 11 needed transport.
The Oklahoma Corporation Commission reports 25,986 homes and businesses across the state are without electric service due to the ice storm.
Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives (OAEC) reports 24,172 electric cooperative customers are without power. The largest number of outages continues in Cherokee and Adair counties. While today’s shedding of ice weight from electric lines was good news, in some ways it is also causing additional outages, as the lines “bounce” and come together briefly, causing line fuses to blow and circuit breakers to operate or lock out. Tree limbs are also an issue now, as released ice weight causes branches to pop up, hitting power lines and causing more fuses to blow.
Below is a list of current affected electric cooperatives, the location of their office and the number of power outages.
Cookson Hills Electric (Stigler) - 2,500
East Central Oklahoma Electric (Okmulgee) - 1,000
Kiamichi Electric Cooperative (Wilburton) - 600
Lake Region Electric Cooperative (Hulbert) - 9,300
Northeast Oklahoma Electric Cooperative (Vinita) - 496
Ozarks Electric Cooperative (Fayetteville, Ark.) - 10,276
OG&E reports 889 outages in Porum, Warner and Muskogee
Municipal Electric Systems of Oklahoma reports 175 outages in Stilwell and 750 in Tahlequah
SHELTERS AND FEEDING
The American Red Cross continues to operate shelters to assist those impacted by the ice storm at the following locations:
Stilwell -- First Baptist Church, 801 W. Hickory
Westville -- Assembly of God, Hwy. 62 East
Tahlequah -- First United Methodist Church, 300 W. Delaware
Cookson – Cookson Community Center, 31521 S. 540 Road
This is a partnership with the Cherokee Nation. The Red Cross is providing volunteers and food. The Cherokee Nation is providing cots and blankets.
The shelter in Muskogee has closed since power has been restored to the area.
Southern Baptist Disaster Relief continues to provide meals to the shelters from their mobile kitchen, located at the Muskogee Fairgrounds. Red Cross is transporting the meals from the Southern Baptist kitchen to the shelters.
107 individuals stayed at the shelters Wednesday night; 52 in Tahlequah, 7 in Cookson, 18 in Westville, and 30 in Stilwell.
On Friday, the American Red Cross will begin delivering meals door-to-door from Siloam Springs to Stilwell. The Red Cross will be sending trucks, providing one hot meal a day for residents in each of the eastern Oklahoma communities.
Additionally, Southern Baptist Chain Saw Teams will be in Tahlequah, Westville and Cookson assisting homeowners where extensive amounts of trees and branches brought down by the ice storm are blocking access to driveways and walkways and where the debris is on rooftops of homes as well. The teams are available to assist the elderly, widows, those who are handicapped or have special needs, single parent moms, and wives of deployed military. Anyone wanting more information may call the Baptist churches in Tahlequah, Westville and Cookson.
Sunny skies will continue through the weekend. Temperatures will be in the 40s today, warming into the 50s Friday through Sunday.
OEM personnel remain in Muskogee, Tahlequah and other affected areas where they are assisting with resource requests and coordination. Today OEM deployed a generator to Welling in Cherokee County to support shelter operations. Wednesday, OEM deployed a generator to Cherokee County to support continued operation of a rural water system.
The Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT) reminds drivers to remain cautious and be alert to "black ice" conditions, which looks wet on the roadway but is a thin layer of ice. ODOT crews report slick spots and isolated patches of ice remain on roadways, bridges, ramps and overpasses. ODOT will continue to have crews working shift work until the remains of this recent winter storm are cleared.
Drivers are reminded of the following safety tips:
- Slow down, be patient and allow extra time in reaching destinations.
- Be alert and stay at least 200 feet behind road clearing equipment; materials are spread without notice and crews need room to maneuver.
- Allow extra space between vehicles so there is adequate distance for braking in wet and icy conditions.
- Drive cautiously and for the conditions on the roadway.
To check CURRENT ROAD CONDITIONS call the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety's ROAD CONDITIONS HOTLINE 888-425-2385. For out-of-state road conditions: Arkansas 800-245-1672; Missouri 800-222-6400; Texas 800-452-9292.
BLOOD DONATIONS NEEDED
The Oklahoma Blood Institute (OBI) is experiencing a critical shortage of all types of blood due to decreases in donations during the recent ice storm. Weather-related injuries and higher-than-usual numbers of organ transplants and other medical needs of Oklahomans in hospitals have depleted the organization’s typical, three-day supply. OBI is facing a blood emergency and needs all types of blood. The current supply of blood is at less than a typical, one-day supply. OBI encourages all Oklahomans, age 17 and older, who are not currently affected by the weather conditions to donate this week. To schedule an appointment to donate blood at any OBI site, call 1-866-341-8728, or visit www.obi.org to see a list of blood drives and donor centers.
Some schools remain closed today.
For non-emergency disaster or health and human service information, Oklahomans are urged to call 2-1-1. The 2-1-1 line is statewide and provides one phone number to call from your home or cell phone where a specialist can assess the caller’s needs and determine what service providers in the area are best equipped to provide assistance. 2-1-1 services are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Due to high call volumes, you may receive a busy signal when calling 2-1-1. Should you experience this, please leave a message at the prompt or remain on the line and a specialist will be with you as soon as possible. 2-1-1 Oklahoma consists of 7 call regions operational in all 77 Oklahoma counties. The call regions are located in the following:
Ada/Southeastern OK: 2-1-1 or 580-332-0558
Bartlesville/Northeastern OK: 2-1-1 or 918-336-2255
Enid/North Central OK: 2-1-1 or 580-237-4357
Lawton/Southwest OK: 2-1-1 or 580-355-7575
OKC Metro/Central OK: 2-1-1 or 405-286-4057
Tulsa Area/Green Country OK: 2-1-1 or 918-836-4357
Woodward/Northwest OK: 2-1-1 or 580-256-6819
For more information, visit www.211oklahoma.org.
Muskogee County Emergency Management reports the county operations center remains activated due to weather conditions that continue to impact Muskogee County. Muskogee County emergency officials are in contact with emergency managers at the State EOC, City EOC and surrounding counties. Road crews continue efforts to sand and maintain open roads. Repairs are ongoing by power companies. Taft, Oktaha, Muskogee, Keefton, Summit and Porum all have areas with outages. The American Red Cross continues to monitor the need for shelter and feeding stations. Damage assessment teams will do follow-up surveys on Friday.
Oklahoma City Emergency Management reports sunshine and warmer temperatures have helped to clear roadways of ice and snow. Public Works continues to work 12 hour shifts. They have shifted their attention to secondary routes, downtown Oklahoma City, and those places that get limited sunshine.
McIntosh County Emergency Management reports initial survey of the county found one mobile home damaged. All other damage was to power lines and trees. About 1,000 remain without electric service. The county roads are still slick and hazardous, but with the sunshine they are starting to thaw. All roads are open.
Pontotoc County Emergency Management received reports of three barns and one carport collapsed in the northwest part of the county due to the weight of 4 to 5 inches of sleet. Initial damage surveys will begin tomorrow.