Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 1, 2006 -- Update #2
HEAVY SNOW, ICE CONTINUE TO AFFECT OKLAHOMA
Cimarron, Turner Turnpikes Closed; Oklahoma National Guard Deployed to Search for Stranded Motorists
The State Emergency Operations Center (EOC) continues to support state and local responders related to the winter weather system that moved through Oklahoma Wednesday and Thursday.
Due to inclement weather, all Oklahoma state agencies will be closed Friday. Many schools and business will also be closed.
Roads virtually statewide remain slick and hazardous and travel is discouraged. The Cimarron and Turner Turnpikes were closed Thursday evening after Troopers with the Oklahoma Highway Patrol and wreckers could no longer safely travel the toll roads. OEM is working with the Oklahoma National Guard (ONG) to deploy heavy equipment and personnel to search the toll roads for any stranded motorists.
Around 11 p.m. Thursday two ONG Humvees and personnel began searching the Cimarron Turnpike from Enid to Stillwater. Two additional Humvees and ONG personnel will be searching the Stillwater to Tulsa stretch of the Cimarron Turnpike.
Troopers continue to travel the now closed Turner Turnpike searching for stranded motorists. OEM is in the process of securing Oklahoma National Guard (ONG) heavy equipment and personnel to assist in the search of the toll road that runs between Oklahoma City and Tulsa. Additionally, the Oklahoma National Guard Armory in Chandler (701 Thunderbird Road) has been opened to provide shelter to motorists. As of midnight, two motorists had checked in at the armory.
Additionally, I-40 was shut down in both directions from mile marker 111 (just west of the Calumet exit) to Weatherford after numerous wrecks occurred. On Thursday, OHP worked 118 crashes statewide, including one fatality wreck. More than 350 OHP Troopers continue to work the Oklahoma roads.
Bartlesville/Washington County Emergency Management reports the county experienced a crippling 10 inches of snow with additional drifts. Thursday evening, about 35,000 to 40,000 Bartlesville residents were without electric service for a couple of hours due to a downed power line. Power was restored to most around 9:30 pm. Bartlesville/Washington County Emergency Management, Washington County Sheriff's Office and Bartlesville Police Department have assisted many stranded motorists and responded to numerous crashes.
Ellis County Emergency Management reports natural gas line in Arnett was cut as workers repaired a water main on Thursday. About 500 residents affected by this service disruption which is expected to be restored by mid-day Friday. Local officials are checking on residents, especially the elderly. Anyone who needs shelter will be taken to the Arnett Fire Department, where there is heat and some extra beds.
Kingfisher City/County Emergency Management reports maximum visibility is about half a block, north winds are 25 mph, gusting to 35 mph. All roads are snow packed and driving is very slow. No major accidents or power outages to report. No roads closed despite an estimated 6 inches of snow on the ground. East-west roads are experiencing drifting. Stores, banks and most restaurants closed Thursday. The courthouse closed late Thursday morning.
Next situation update: As necessary.