Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Situation Update 4
January 12, 2007 -- 9 p.m.
ICE STORM DELIVERS POWER OUTAGES
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 11,800 homes are without power.
PSO reports sporadic outages in the southwest and northeast areas of the state. About 7,200 customers remain without power in southwestern Oklahoma to include areas of Tipton, Chickasha, Duncan and Lawton. Additionally, power is out to 600 customers in Grove. Power is now back on in the Jackson County town of Headrick.
The Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives reports about 3,200 Cotton Electric Cooperative customers are without power in Comanche, Cotton, Stephens, Jefferson, Tillman, Grady, Carter and Caddo counties. Cotton Electric officials report ice accumulations between one-half and three-quarter of an inch on electric lines and have contract crews en route to assist with power restoration efforts. Additionally, about 820 Rural Electric Cooperative customers in Garvin County are without power. These outages are mostly due to icy tree limbs hitting power lines.
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 has crew members statewide and nearly 100,000 tons of sand and salt mixture on hand to clear snow and ice.
The Oklahoma Highway Patrol (OHP) has worked 125 weather-related crashes since this morning, mostly along the I-44 corridor. Troopers worked 88 non-injury, 36 injury and one fatality wreck. In addition to working crashes, OHP is providing motorist assists and weather and road condition reports. They are patrolling lightly traveled roads as well as major thoroughfares. All special service units have been called in to supplement road troopers.
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.
Shelters and Mass Care
Shelters are open in Fletcher at City Hall; in Sterling at the high school gym; and, in Lawton at the Centenary United Methodist Church, 704 SW D Ave. The permanent Salvation Army shelter in Lawton is at capacity. All floor space is taken.
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.
REPORTS FROM LOCAL JURISDICTIONS
Comanche County Emergency Management reports power lines are coated with one-half to one inch of ice in areas. The City of Geronimo was without power earlier today. Roads are coated with ice and sleet, but still passable at this time. Numerous minor accidents are still being reported. City of Cache now has power restored.
Coweta Emergency Management reports two-tenths of an inch of ice accumulation, 29 degrees and light snowfall. Bridges and overpasses are slick.
Lincoln County Emergency Management reports the EOC is activated. Roads are slick and several accidents have occurred.
Cushing Emergency Management reports approximately two inches of sleet on the ground and it is still coming down. Roads are slick and hazardous. State has been plowing and sanding highways. City has been sanding streets. EOC is activated and city officials have been meeting every two hours examining current conditions. We will continue to meet every two hours throughout the night. We are ready to open a shelter if necessary. So far we have not had any power problems.
Garber Emergency Management reports sleet accumulations of one-half to one inch.
Grady County Emergency Management reports only 2 homes in southern Grady County reported a power outage. No major accidents although three involved minor injuries. All roads are slick and hazardous. Approximately one-eighth to one-quarter inch of sleet has fallen since morning. Power lines have a very thin layer of ice from freezing rain.
Kingfisher Emergency Management has plans in place with the American Red Cross in case a shelter is necessary. Right now everything is going very smooth. We are receiving freezing rain and strong north winds. The wind chill is 9 degrees. Edmond Emergency Management reports the Edmond EOC is activated. Edmond has experienced mainly sleet which is accumulating on the roads, causing slippery conditions. There have been no reports of electrical outages.
Mayes County Emergency Management reports power outages in Pryor, Chouteau, and Salina.
McIntosh County Emergency Management reports some tree damage from the ice. We are having tree limbs break off and land in the road, mainly in the rural areas. Bridges are starting to get slick and we are now starting to get reports of numerous accidents on Highway 69 both north and south of Eufaula. No reports of power failures. We do have some reports of minor street flooding.
Midwest City Emergency Management reports area experienced moderate to heavy ice pellets. No Icing on trees or power lines at this time.
Oklahoma City Emergency Management reports 29 salt/sand trucks continue to work on the snow routes and will be working 24/7. At the beginning of the event Oklahoma City had 6,000 tons of salt on hand, with an additional 1,500 tons on order. Oklahoma City Emergency Management coordinated fuel checks of all fixed and portable generators for Oklahoma City emergency facilities in anticipation of possible power outages.
Osage Emergency Management reports EOC activated and officials are standing ready to open shelter if necessary. About a quarter inch of sleet is on the ground. We will be monitoring weather conditions throughout the night.
Walter Emergency Management reports about one-half inch of ice on trees, fences, and power lines. We are at 31 degrees and the rain continues. We are hopeful and praying that the temperature falls significantly in the next two hours. We would love a few inches of sleet. Crews are mobilized. Sand for streets and highways has been stockpiled and loaded trucks are in enclosed area to keep the sand from freezing.
Washington County Emergency Management reports numerous traffic accidents with injury have been reported since this morning. None of the injuries appear to be serious and there have been no fatalities. Several falls have also been reported. Sleet and freezing rain is increasing and with about one-half inch on the ground at this time. All surfaces are beginning to freeze and collect ice at this time. No power outages have been reported however, we have seen several "brown outs" since 10:30 a.m.
Woodward City/County Emergency Management reports the EOC in Woodward is activated. They are working with American Red Cross to be able to assist residents in the event of mass power outages. Generators are staged at the water pumping stations to ensure continued water to homes. Police, fire and public works have access to generator-equipped fuel pumps so that city services will continue to be provided. Citizens are urged to allow a slop drip of water at all faucets and leave cabinet doors open at night to keep pipes warm in order to guard against freezing, broken pipes. Local stores are running low on generators, propane/natural gas and portable heaters. Emergency preparedness kits are available for purchase at the local American Red Cross office.