Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 18, 2011 – 5:45 p.m. – Situation Update 4
FOR MORE INFORMATION: Michelann Ooten, Public Information Officer
SEVERE WEATHER RECOVERY CONTINUES
Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management (OEM) personnel remain in the field, assisting local jurisdictions in areas affected by Thursday’s tornado outbreak.
Severe thunderstorms are possible Tuesday afternoon across eastern Oklahoma, primarily east of Highway 75. Farther west across southwest Oklahoma, hot conditions will lead to wildfire concerns as a dry line moves east across this area of the state. Temperatures will be in the 90s with relative humidity values below 20 percent, creating favorable conditions for rapid wildfire growth. A cold front will move through the state late Tuesday, reducing wildfire concerns on Wednesday. Additional showers and thunderstorms are possible Thursday and Friday as another storm system moves into the state.
INJURIES AND FATALITIES
The fatality count remains at two (2), with both attributed to the Tushka tornado, according to the Oklahoma State Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.
Additionally, 43 were initially injured during the Tushka tornado, according to the Oklahoma State Department of Health. Another 73 injuries have been reported during response, recovery efforts.
GOVERNOR REQUESTS FEDERAL ASSISTANCE
Gov. Mary Fallin today requested that Pres. Barack Obama declare Atoka County a disaster area which would allow them to receive individual assistance. If the request is approved, those who suffered uninsured storm-related damage 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.
STATE OF EMERGENCY
A State of Emergency remains in effect for 26 Oklahoma counties due to the severe weather of April 14. Governor Mary Fallin declared the State of Emergency on Friday for the following 26 counties: Atoka, Carter, Coal, Creek, Custer, Delaware, Harper, Johnston, Latimer, LeFlore, Lincoln, Love, Marshall, Murray, Okfuskee, Okmulgee, Osage, Pittsburg, Pontotoc, Pushmataha, Rogers, Seminole, Tulsa, Wagoner, Washington, Woodward. The declaration provides a formal mechanism for local governments to seek reimbursement for recovery costs through the state’s disaster public assistance program, should conditions warrant. The executive order is also the first step toward seeking federal aid.
The Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management and the Federal Emergency Management Agency have completed a joint preliminary damage assessment on the impact to homes and businesses in Atoka County. They found 237 homes and business damaged. Of those, 149 were destroyed; 47 sustained major damage; 33 minor damage and 8 were affected.
The Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management is currently working to complete damage surveys on public buildings and other infrastructure damaged in the storm in Atoka County as well as other counties in consideration of public assistance which would benefit municipalities, school districts, counties and the state.
The National Weather Service has rated the Tushka tornado an EF-3 on the Enhanced Fujita Scale, indicating winds were over 140 mph in the areas of the most intense damage. The tornado began about 5 miles west-southwest of Tushka and left a swath of damage more than a half mile wide. Analysis continues and these numbers will be adjusted as more evidence is examined.
The Oklahoma Highway Patrol, Oklahoma State Department of Health, Oklahoma Agriculture Department, Oklahoma Department of Human Services and Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management remain on site in Tushka assisting with recovery efforts.
The Oklahoma Corporation Commission reports 1,200 Southeastern Electric Cooperative customers in the Atoka area remain without electric service due to the tornado.
SHELTERS AND MASS CARE
The American Red Cross shelter has been relocated to Tushka Baptist Church, 202 NE Second Street, in Tushka. There were no overnight guests at the shelter Sunday night.
Red Cross is continuing to provide mobile distribution of clean-up items to residents affected by the storm. Their emergency vehicles continue to drive through hard hit neighborhoods offering the supplies. Items provided are: water, shovels and rakes, trash cans and trash bags, gloves, goggles, clean-up kits, snacks, tarps, water coolers, hand sanitizer, flashlights and brooms.
The Salvation Army is coordinating feeding efforts with American Red Cross and the Choctaw Nation. In addition, at the request of Emergency Management, they helped to facilitate the delivery of seven pallets of tarping material with the assistance of Red Cross. Additionally, Salvation Army helped facilitate, with the United Methodists, delivery of hammers, nails and tack strips for tarping needs.
Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief continues to assist with feeding. Additionally, their chainsaw crews are assisting with debris removal.
The Oklahoma State Department of Health has provided more than 375 tetanus shots since the tornado hit Thursday night.
The Oklahoma Department of Human Services continues to coordinate community and state resources to meet human service needs. OKDHS has personnel at Tushka City Hall taking applications regarding their Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program.
Officials with the Tushka Ministerial Alliance are coordinating volunteer efforts. Anyone needing assistance with securing their home due to storm damage, or anyone wanting to volunteer to assist, may call (580) 239-2428.
LOCATING LOST DOCUMENTS, PHOTOS
Documents, photos and other items found from tornado victims should be turned in at Tushka City Hall at 101 SE First Street in Tushka.
Monetary donations are needed for those affected by the April 14th tornadoes.
A “Tushka Tornado Relief Fund” has been established at the First Bank of Tushka and Ameristate Bank.
Mail donations to:
First Bank of Tushka, 701 S. Mississippi, Atoka 74525
Ameristate Bank, 117 S. Pennsylvania, Atoka 74525
Oklahomans may also give to the disaster relief organization or fund of their choosing, identifying their donation as for the tornado victims. Clothing donations are no longer needed.
Veterinarians from the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture assisted local volunteers in establishing a temporary shelter in Tushka. The shelter, now being operated by local volunteers, continues efforts to match displaced animals with their owners. Anyone who is missing their pet or who has located a stray pet is asked to report that information at Tushka City Hall. Bryan County-Durant Emergency Management is prepared to provide shelter for large animals, such as horses or goats, at the Durant Stock Yards, if necessary.
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.
BE READY FOR THE NEXT STORM WITH A NOAA WEATHER RADIO
Last week’s weather highlights again the need for people to stay informed about their local weather. The National Weather Service reminds Oklahomans that a NOAA Weather Radio with a warning alarm can save your life during hazardous weather.
For more information, go to oem.ok.gov
You can also follow OEM on Twitter at @OKEM