Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management
Situation Update 3
February 9, 2011 – 7 a.m.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Michelann Ooten, Public Information Officer
WINTER STORM IMPACTING STATE
Due to the latest winter storm to impact Oklahoma, the State Emergency Operations Center (EOC) remains activated. Agencies and organizations represented at the State EOC include the Oklahoma Military Department, Oklahoma State Department of Health, Oklahoma Highway Patrol, Oklahoma Corporation Commission, Oklahoma Department of Transportation, Oklahoma Turnpike Authority, FEMA, Salvation Army, American Red Cross and other disaster relief agencies.
A Winter Storm Warning continues through midday for all of Oklahoma. Snow and blowing snow has occurred across the panhandle and western Oklahoma with reports of 6 to 8 inch accumulations. Snow will taper off west to east during the day ending in southeast Oklahoma late this afternoon. Strong winds and bitterly cold temperatures will create dangerous exposure conditions. In the panhandle wind chills are -10 to -30 degrees. Snowfall reports include 5 inches in Craig County, 8 inches in Beaver County, 10 inches in Mayes County, 12 inches in Garfield County, 13 inches in Osage County and 14 inches in Washington County.
STATE OF EMERGENCY
The State of Emergency declared by Gov. Mary Fallin for last week’s blizzard remains in effect. The State of Emergency marks a first step toward seeking federal assistance, should it be necessary. Additionally, the executive order allows state agencies to make emergency purchases and acquisitions needed to expedite the delivery of resources to local jurisdictions. The declaration provides a formal mechanism for local governments to seek reimbursement for recovery costs through the state’s disaster public assistance program as conditions warrant.
FATALITIES AND INJURIES
The Oklahoma State Department of Health reports the following 80 injuries related to the current winter storm: 63 falls, 1 carbon monoxide poisoning, 14 transportation related accidents and 2 cut/pierce injuries.
The Oklahoma Highway Patrol reports four wrecks related to the storm, including one with injury. Troopers continue to urge motorists to stay off the roads. In many areas roadways are snow-packed, as well as slick and hazardous. While travel will be strongly discouraged, if travel is unavoidable make sure to dress appropriately and carry a cell phone.
The Oklahoma Department of Transportation reports although accumulation has started to ease up in the Panhandle and western Oklahoma, crews are continuing to clear accumulated snow from the roadways. Light blowing snow and some slick spots are being reported in southeastern Oklahoma where crews are treating bridges and overpasses.
Blowing snow moved into the Oklahoma City metro area overnight. Crews are currently plowing roadways and where drifting snow is accumulating. Bridges and overpasses are slick and being treated and drivers are reminded to use caution. With more snowfall expected in the Oklahoma City metro area this morning, drivers are still strongly encouraged to stay home and off the roads.
In the north central and northeastern part of the state, strong winds along with heavy snow have created conditions with limited or no visibility. Highways throughout the area are snow packed with drifting in some spots. Only one lane in each direction is passable on most Tulsa highways. Travel is strongly discouraged.
Oklahoma City and Tulsa metro area drivers are reminded 10-second video loops, updated every two minutes and showing current road conditions, are available for viewing at www.oktraffic.org.
TxDOT is reporting major travel problems with westbound I-40 closed at exit 64 in Amarillo due to blowing snow. Westbound traffic is being held at Amarillo until conditions improve. For TxDOT driving conditions: 800-452-9292 or www.txdot.gov
For more information regarding Oklahoma road conditions, call 888-425-2385 or go to www.dps.state.ok.us For the latest conditions on Oklahoma Turnpikes, call 1-877-403-7623 or go to www.pikepass.com
For road conditions in other neighboring states: Kansas 866-511-5368, www.511.ksdot.org; Arkansas 800-245-1672, www.arkansashighways.com; Colorado 303-639-1111, www.cotrip.org; New Mexico 800-432-4269, www.nmroads.com; and, Missouri 800-222-6400, www.modot.org
The American Red Cross reports 27 Greyhound bus passengers stayed at their shelter located at Crosstown Church of Christ in Tulsa overnight.
Additionally, the following six warming stations remain open for any stranded motorists and others displaced by the storm.
Atoka -- Life Church, 2340 S. Mississippi Ave.
Bristow – First Baptist Church, 226 E. Sixth Ave.
Henryetta – Church of Christ, 413 W. Broadway
McAlester – Church of Christ, 1700 S. Main
Okemah – First Baptist Church, 120 S. Sixth
Sapulpa – Ridgeway Baptist, 7785 S. Highway 97
Strike teams have been prepositioned around the state to assist in the event of stranded motorists. The teams are comprised of members of the Oklahoma National Guard, Oklahoma Highway Patrol, Oklahoma Department of Transportation and Oklahoma Turnpike Authority. OEM coordinates the deployment of the strike teams through State EOC. More than 275 National Guard personnel are stationed with Humvees at armories in Ardmore, Bristow, Broken Arrow, Chandler, Claremore, Lawton, McAlester, Muskogee, Mustang, Norman, Okemah, Ponca City, Sand Springs and Stillwater. Each National Guard unit is assigned an OHP Trooper and depending where the stranded motorist is located a snow plow operator with ODOT or OTA will be deployed to provide assistance.
Additionally, the bottled water, cots, blankets and MREs (meals ready to eat) FEMA provided last week remain available for use in shelters and warming stations as needed for stranded motorists or power outages. OEM has also pre-positioned state industrial-sized generators around Oklahoma. Please note these generators are NOT for residential use.
All state offices in Canadian, Cleveland, Lincoln, Logan, McClain, Oklahoma and Pottawatomie counties are closed today. Numerous schools and businesses are also closed.
At Will Rogers International Airport in Oklahoma City airlines have cancelled flights this morning. Tulsa International Airport also reports all airlines have cancelled early morning departures. Travelers are advised to contact their airline before leaving for the airport to confirm flight status.
PRICE GOUGING STATUTE IN EFFECT
Oklahoma’s price gouging statute remains in effect in all of Oklahoma’s 77 counties due to the State of Emergency. The price gouging statute prohibits an increase of more than 10 percent in the price of most goods and services when a State of Emergency has been declared. Anyone who suspects price gouging is urged to contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Unit at (405) 521-2029.
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. Please only call 911 for emergencies.
WINTER WEATHER PREPAREDNESS TIPS
As the storm moves through the state, it’s important to remember these additional winter weather preparedness tips.
Have A Plan:
• Understand the hazards of wind chill. Cold temperatures are even more dangerous, and potentially deadly, when combined with strong winds. The lower the temperature and stronger the wind, the more at risk you are.
• Check on family, friends and neighbors, especially the elderly. Make sure they are prepared.
• Plan to bring pets inside during winter weather. Move livestock to sheltered areas with
non-frozen drinking water.
• Let faucets drip a little to avoid freezing
• Know what National Weather Service winter storm and blizzard watches and warnings mean.
• A winter storm watch is a message indicating a winter storm is possible in your area.
• A winter storm warning indicates a winter storm is occurring winter storm is occurring or will soon occur in your area and could threaten life and property.
• A blizzard warning means sustained winds or frequent gusts to 35 mph or greater and considerable falling or blowing snow is expected to prevail for a period of three hours or longer.
• Depend on your NOAA All Hazards Weather Radio, along with local radio and television stations, for weather reports.
Beaver/Beaver County Emergency Management reports 8 to 10 inches of snowfall, with isolated areas receiving 10 to 12 inches. Overnight 30 to 40 mph winds delivered 2 to 4 foot snow drifts. Currently the temperature is -1 degrees with a wind chill of -25 degrees.
Comanche County Emergency Management reports despite less snow accumulation than expected, roadways are hazardous and travel is discouraged. Citizens are encouraged to call their employer before heading to work to make sure the business is open. A blowing snowfall began early this morning across the county leaving a moderate accumulation of 2 to 4 inches. Strong winds and bitterly cold temperatures through Friday will cause travel conditions to remain very dangerous, along with exposure conditions. Citizens are encouraged to shelter in place. Do not travel unless absolutely necessary.
Stillwater Emergency Managementreports 6 to 8 inch snow accumulation. Road crews are working to clear roads only to have the roads recovered with snow an hour after they have plowed through. SH-51 and US-177 in Stillwater are deep with snow and low riding vehicles will struggle. Some abandoned vehicles along highways and in town, however nothing like last week.
Situation Updates are posted at www.oem.ok.gov
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Next Situation Update: As conditions warrant