Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 15, 2007 – 1 p.m. Update #1
During the last week, widespread excessive rain has fallen across many areas of the state. Creek, Kiowa, Logan, Major, Nowata and Washington counties were especially hard hit by the severe storms and flash flooding. In some cases, areas received 4 to 8 inches of rain. The low pressure system responsible for the current rainfall is forecast to remain in the region through Sunday.
The Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management (OEM) continues to receive damage reports from counties, cities and towns impacted by storms and flooding. OEM remains in contact with emergency managers in the affected areas.
The American Red Cross continues to operate a shelter in Hobart for those displaced by the flooding. The shelter is at the First Baptist Church, located at Second and Jefferson. Red Cross officials are also feeding residents and responders at the church. The shelter will remain open as long as needed. At 10 a.m. Saturday a Red Cross service center will open at the same location.
A flash flood watch continues for much of the state through Saturday morning. Motorists are urged to avoid driving into high water. It only takes a minimal amount of moving water for cars to be swept away and there may be unseen damage to the road. Motorists who encounter flooded roads should turn around and find an alternate route. Flash floods are the number one cause of weather-related deaths in the nation.
Damage Assessments Underway
OEM and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) representatives continue to join local officials in conducting joint preliminary damage assessments (PDAs) related to weather systems that moved through the state Memorial Day weekend, June 10 and earlier this week. The PDAs are needed to gage whether the damages to infrastructure and the costs associated with responding to the storms meet the criteria to qualify for disaster assistance.
State and local officials are also in the process of confirming the number of homes and businesses damaged by the storms. Residents and business owners who sustained uninsured or under-insured property damage are urged to report the damage information to their local emergency manager.
Recovery from May 4-11 Storms Continues
A federal disaster declaration remains in effect for 17 Oklahoma counties to provide public assistance related to the severe storms, flooding and tornadoes that occurred in the state May 4-11. The 17 counties that qualified for public assistance are: Atoka, Beckham, Blaine, Caddo, Comanche, Dewey, Ellis, Greer, Kay, Kiowa, Lincoln, Noble, Nowata, Okfuskee, Pottawatomie, Roger Mills and Seminole. OEM and FEMA representatives are holding applicant briefings with local officials in the declared counties. An applicants' briefing is a meeting conducted to inform prospective applicants of available assistance and eligibility requirements for obtaining that assistance.
OEM continues to work with eight additional counties where damage from the May 4-11 storm was identified but where initial damage assessments in those counties did not meet the per capita requirement for federal disaster assistance. Additional damage surveys are now underway in Bryan, Canadian, Garfield, Grady, Hughes, Logan, McIntosh and Woodward counties.