Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 12, 2007 -- Situation Update 3
STATE CONTINUES TO WORK ICE STORM
The State Emergency Operations Center (EOC) remains activated due to winter weather conditions that continue to impact areas of Oklahoma. The Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management (OEM) is in contact with emergency managers in the affected areas and has received the following reports.
Gov. Brad Henry's State of Emergency declaration for all 77 Oklahoma counties remains in effect. The declaration reiterates the availability of all state resources to Oklahoma cities, towns and counties. It also provides a formal mechanism for local governments to seek reimbursement for recovery costs through the state's disaster public assistance program should conditions warrant.
An arctic air mass moved into Oklahoma early this morning. At the same time, a strong storm system was developing in southwestern areas of the nation. The combination of these two features is resulting in freezing rain and ice pellets in Oklahoma. Hardest hit areas are south central through east central and portions of northeast Oklahoma. Winter storm conditions are expected to continue through Sunday night.
Statewide, about 3,500 homes are without power. PSO reports sporadic outages in the southwest and northeast areas of the state. About 1,800 customers remain without power in the Lawton area. Additionally, power is out in the Jackson County town of Headrick, population 130. Intermittent outages were also reported in Frederick, Tipton, Eldorado, Olustee, Altus and Junction after one of PSO's main transmission lines went down.
The Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives reports about 1,600 Cotton Electric Cooperative customers are without power. These outages are scattered throughout Comanche, Cotton and Stephens counties. Cotton Electric officials report ice accumulations between one-half and three-quarter of an inch on electric lines. Additionally, about 25 Rural Electric Cooperative customers in Garvin County are without power. These outages are mostly due to icy tree limbs hitting power lines. No reports of downed power poles or power lines. All cooperative customers should see power returned later today.
OG&E reports no outages at this time. This morning about 4,000 customers in The Village were without power for about one hour.
The Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT) is discouraging travel on the state's highways and interstates. Conditions are changing very rapidly and will likely worsen as nightfall comes and temperatures drop causing highways, bridges and overpasses to refreeze.
ODOT is advising drivers if they must be on the roads, be cautious and drive for the conditions. ODOT is reporting roadways, overpasses and bridges in the metro counties of Oklahoma, Cleveland and Canadian counties are very slick and hazardous. Roads, bridges and overpasses in western Oklahoma are slick and hazardous as heavy sleet, rain and light snow fall across the region. I-40 is slick and hazardous in this area and travel is strongly discouraged. Road crews in Tulsa and the northeast region are reporting slick and icy roads and bridges as dropping temperatures and increasing sleet begin to refreeze moisture left by the morning's precipitation. ODOT trucks have been pre-treating all roads and bridges near Tulsa with sand and salt since mid-morning. As precipitation begins to accumulate this evening, snow plows will work to clear excess material from these routes. Highways in the northern part of east central Oklahoma are starting to get slick. The remainder of roadways in the area wet, but not freezing at this time. In northwestern Oklahoma and the Panhandle, roads are wet and some bridges and overpasses are slick in spots. ODOT maintenance crews will be working in shifts around the clock until the roads are clear and dry. ODOT has crew members statewide and nearly 100,000 tons of sand and salt mixture on hand to clear snow and ice. While travel is discouraged, anyone who must travel, is advised to call Oklahoma Department of Public Safety's statewide highway and interstate conditions number, 888-425-2385. For road conditions in neighboring states call: Texas, 888-425-2385; Kansas, 886-511-5368; Arkansas, 800-245-1672; and Missouri, 800-222-6400.
The State EOC is utilizing the 2-1-1 system as a resource for non-emergency disaster information services. 2-1-1 is the number to call for access to non-emergency health, human service, and disaster related information. Just dial "2-1-1" from any phone in 36 Oklahoma Counties (see the lists below where 2-1-1 is available). Phones are answered 24/7/365. If you are calling from a rotary dial telephone or large phone system, such as PBX, please access 2-1-1 services through the 10-digit telephone numbers listed below. If your county does not have 2-1-1, contact local emergency management officials or the American Red Cross for assistance.
Tulsa 2-1-1 Helpline (918-836-4357)
Creek, Okmulgee, Osage, Rogers, Tulsa, Wagoner
HeartLine 2-1-1, Central Oklahoma (405-286-4057)
Canadian, Cleveland, Grady, Kingfisher, Lincoln, Logan, McClain, Oklahoma, Pottawatomie
2-1-1 of Southeastern Oklahoma (580-332-0558)
Atoka, Bryan, Carter, Choctaw, Coal, Garvin, Haskell, Hughes, Jefferson, Johnston, Latimer, LeFlore, Love, Marshall, McCurtain, Murray, Pittsburg, Pontotoc, Pushmataha, Seminole, Stephens
For assistance in Comanche County, please call Helpline (580-355-7575) - note that 2-1-1 is not active in Comanche County at this time.