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Situation Update

Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Situation Update 30

January 20, 2007 -- 7 p.m.


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.

Injuries and Fatalities

  • Since the winter weather system first impacted the state Jan. 12, there have been 26 deaths attributed to the storm: 16 motor vehicle accidents, 7 hypothermia, 2 smoke inhalation and 1 fall, according to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol (OHP) and Oklahoma Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.
  • OHP reports a total of 495 collisions on Oklahoma roads since Jan. 12.
  • 2,923 people have been treated at Oklahoma hospitals for various injuries related to current weather conditions, according to the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH).

State and Federal Assistance

On Jan. 14, Pres. George W. Bush approved an emergency declaration for all 77 Oklahoma counties. The emergency declaration covers federal assistance for federal assets necessary to continue to respond to the needs of the state and communities affected by the ice storm. It also covers 75 percent reimbursement for emergency protective measures performed by local and state personnel. Gov. Brad Henry requested federal aid after it became clear the state would need federal support to deliver assistance to storm victims across Oklahoma.

OEM continues to coordinate the delivery of disaster relief efforts to alleviate the hardship and suffering caused by the ice storm. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) officials are working with the state to identify, mobilize, and provide necessary equipment and resources.

Joint preliminary damage assessment teams are surveying damage in the affected areas of Delaware, McIntosh, Muskogee and Pittsburg counties. The teams include county and city officials as well as representatives of OEM and FEMA. The teams are documenting damage to public facilities, roads and bridges as well as damage to the electric cooperative system and the costs associated with debris removal. Teams are also documenting uninsured damages to homes and businesses. Initial damage assessments are being completed in the four hardest hit counties. More assessments may be done as needed.

Since Wednesday, more than 540,000 one-liter bottles of drinking water have been distributed to communities impacted by the storm. Bottled water continues to arrive at staging locations in McAlester, Muskogee, Jay, Miami and Pryor.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers continues to deliver generators for water treatment plants and shelters to communities in need.

Please note: These generators are not available to individuals.

OSDH public health nurses have been deployed to assist at all American Red Cross shelters statewide.

In addition to OEM, the Oklahoma Military Department, Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry, Oklahoma Department of Transportation, OSDH, Oklahoma Turnpike Authority, OHP, Oklahoma Corporation Commission, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, FEMA, Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives, OG&E, American Red Cross and The Salvation Army are represented in the State EOC.

Power Outages

The Oklahoma Corporation Commission reports statewide, about 36,155 customers are without power.

PSO reports 4,769 customers are without power throughout the state. Most of PSO's outages remain in McAlester, where 4,413 customers are without power. Other communities experiencing power outages are Chouteau, Vinita and Wilburton.

OG&E reports 8,884 customers are without power. The largest OG&E outage is in Muskogee where 6,497 are without power. Other outages are reported in Boynton, Checotah, Norman, Oklahoma City (South), Porum and Warner.

Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives reports 22,301 electric cooperative customers are without power. Additionally, more than 3,300 utility poles are down across the cooperative service area. Below is a list of electric cooperatives, the location of their office and the number of power outages.

Canadian Valley (Seminole) - 12
Cookson Hills Electric Cooperative (Stigler) - 400
East Central Oklahoma Electric Cooperative (Okmulgee) - 5,000
Kiamichi Electric Cooperative (Wilburton) - 2,385
Lake Region Electric Cooperative (Hulbert) - 4,796
Northeast Oklahoma Electric Cooperative (Vinita) - 9,219
People's Electric Cooperative (Ada) - 489
Pryor Municipal Utility Board - 200

Empire Electric serving far northeast corner of Oklahoma reports 1 customer without power.

Shelters and Mass Care

American Red Cross is operating shelters in the following locations:

Calvin -- First Pentecostal of God Church
Checotah -- Multi-Purpose Building
Chouteau -- First Baptist Church
Eufaula -- Senior Citizen Center
Fort Gibson -- Church of Christ
Grove -- Grove Civic Center
Jay -- Fire Station
Kansas -- NE Vo-tech School
Langley -- First Christian Church
Locust Grove -- Fire Department, Senior Nursing Home
McAlester -- First Baptist Church, Stipe Center
Muskogee -- Muskogee Recreation Center, Muskogee VA Hospital
Pryor -- Grand Memorial Auditorium, First United Methodist Church
Salina -- Lakeview Baptist Church
Stigler -- Community Building
Tahlequah -- First United Methodist Church Activities Building
Wagoner -- First United Methodist Church
Wyandotte -- Wyandotte/Ashton Community Service Center

American Red Cross and local officials are prepared to open additional shelters if weather conditions and power outages warrant. They are providing meals and sheltering at approximately 20 locations across eastern Oklahoma. Since the ice storm began, they have provided 4,173 overnight stays, 963 hygiene comfort kits and 28,103 meals and snacks.

The Salvation Army is currently feeding one shelter that is supported by the American Red Cross in Kansas. In addition, the communities of West Siloam Springs and Colcord are receiving meals for their rural area residents through this location via either pick-up by county officials or residents. The towns of Oaks, Leach and Jay have been told if they have residents in need, they can be served by the Kansas canteen. The Salvation Army has two canteens in Kansas and they are feeding between 500 and 550 per meal in Kansas. In addition, they have a canteen located in Wyandotte that is supporting rural residents of the area. Monday through Thursday meals were provided for inmates at the Delaware County Jail. Earlier this week in the Tulsa metropolitan area, pockets of residential areas in Broken Arrow, Sand Springs, Sapulpa and Bristow received snacks and meals. The McAlester Corps continues to serve meals to those coming in for assistance. Both McAlester and Muskogee Corps are providing comfort kits and blankets as needed and emergency prescription assistance. In Muskogee, members of the AOK Division's Camp Heart O'Hills helped prepare meals and assisted the Corps with service to the Muskogee Emergency Operations Center.

The United Methodists are assisting with health and welfare checks in many communities.

The Southern Baptist Men's Disaster Response continues to prepare meals for many of the shelters. Their large-capacity feeding unit, which feeds up to 15,000 meals, is in McAlester. A second feeding is staged in Muskogee to accommodate shelters in that area.

The Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma, located in Oklahoma City, and the Tulsa Food Bank continue to provide food for shelter preparation.

Road Conditions

Statewide, highway and interstate road conditions are primarily wet with some icy patches beginning to form as temperatures begin to drop as evening approaches. ODOT crews are out all across the state inspecting roads and applying sand and salt to bridges, overpasses and slick spots. Crews in western and northwestern Oklahoma are reporting heavy snow accumulations and are out plowing snow off roads and treating slick spots. ODOT is asking motorists to remain cautious and drive for the changing road conditions that will likely occur this evening and into tomorrow morning as temperatures drop and roads begin to refreeze. Crews will continue to be out inspecting conditions and applying sand and salt and plowing snow as needed throughout tonight. Additional crews are also on standby in the event that conditions worsen dramatically. OHP reports some slide-off accidents due to snow accumulations in the Clinton and Altus areas.

For information regarding Oklahoma roads, call 888-425-2385. For road conditions in neighboring states call: Texas, 800-452-9292; Kansas, 886-511-5368; Arkansas, 800-245-1672; and Missouri, 800-222-6400.


Snowfall will end later tonight across the northwest one quarter of Oklahoma where 5 to 7 inches accumulation is likely. Temperatures will be in the mid- to upper-20s statewide tonight with temperatures rising above freezing on Sunday. A week-long warming trend will start on Monday.

Food Safety

Power outages present problems with food safety as well as with heating, reports OSDH. If people at home or those in food establishments have had a loss of power for more than four hours, take the following precautions with refrigerated food products:

  • Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible.
  • Discard any potentially hazardous foods such as meats, eggs, dairy products and leftovers that may have exceeded 45 degrees. When in doubt, throw it out.
  • Frozen foods in a freezer can normally be kept up to 48 hours without power. Again, the 45 degree rule applies. A frozen product that has thawed should not be refrozen. It should be used immediately or disposed of. Thawed foods that have not reached 45 degrees can be cooked and consumed.

Carbon Monoxide Danger

OSDH reports more than 100 cases of possible carbon monoxide poisoning statewide. Health officials continue to warn Oklahomans who may seek alternative power or fuel sources such as generators, grills, camp stoves or other gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal-burning devices that these should never be used inside a home, garage,or camper -- or even outside near an open window. The use of these alternative fuel or electricity sources can cause carbon monoxide to build up and poison people and animals inside. Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas found in combustion fumes and can cause sudden illness and death. The National Weather Service is broadcasting information regarding this carbon monoxide danger on NOAA weather radios.

Price Gouging

Anyone who suspects price gouging is urged to contact the Oklahoma Attorney General's Consumer Protection Unit at 405-521-2029. The state's price gouging statute is in effect which prohibits an increase of more than 10 percent in the price of most goods and services when a state of emergency has been declared.

Dial 2-1-1

The State EOC continues to utilize 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. In counties where 2-1-1 is not available, residents should 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.


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