Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 5, 2007 – 4:30 p.m. Update #15
Showers and thunderstorms continue today as a weak low pressure system remains in central Texas and a cold front remains stationary across Oklahoma. Excessive rainfall is possible with any storms that develop which may lead to flash flooding.
No flash flood watches are posted for any part of Oklahoma this afternoon. A potential for more showers and thunderstorms exists for the next several days which may lead to additional flash flooding.
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.
Injuries and Fatalities
On June 18, three people sustained minor injuries when their pickup washed down a creek in Pontotoc County. All three were rescued: two were treated at the scene; one was transported to a nearby hospital. No additional injuries reported.
The Oklahoma Corporation Commission reports electric and natural gas providers have voluntarily disconnected services in flooded areas.
The American Red Cross is operating shelters for those displaced by flooding at the following locations:
Bartlesville – East Cross United Methodist Church on Madison Boulevard – 17 stayed overnight, however 12 were from an animal rescue group from California.
Miami – First Christian Church at 2424 N. Main – 42 stayed overnight. The shelter at the First Baptist Church was closed yesterday.
Red Cross officials anticipate a rise in shelter population as disaster victims’ financial resources dwindle.
Red Cross continues to provide 250 meals three times a day for those in the damage areas. Red Cross is providing cots and comfort kits for the Oklahoma National Guard troops working out of the Nowata Fire Station.
Officials with Southern Baptist Men’s Disaster Relief continue to provide meals from their large feeding unit at the shelter in Miami. Tomorrow they plan to set up another large feeding unit in Bartlesville at the First Baptist Church, 405 S. Cherokee. An additional three feeding units from southeast areas of the state are on standby to respond to the Lake Texoma area, if necessary.
The Salvation Army continues to serve meals at the Salvation Army Office, 101 N. Bucy from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily in Bartlesville. They also have a canteen roaming the neighborhoods and have delivered 70 clean-up kits to residents in Bartlesville. In Miami, the Salvation Army is providing 210 meals, three times a day for workers at the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and the Oklahoma National Guard troops.
Gov. Brad Henry today requested a major disaster declaration as a result of the severe storms and flooding that has occurred in many areas of the state since May 24. The request asks President Bush to approve federal disaster assistance for individuals in Comanche, Ottawa, Pottawatomie and Washington counties, where more than 800 homes have been damaged by flood waters since Memorial Day weekend. As additional damage assessments are completed more counties may be added to the request. If the request is approved, those who suffered damage would be eligible for assistance for housing repairs or temporary housing, U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) low-interest loans for individuals and businesses to repair or replace damaged property, disaster unemployment assistance, and grants for serious needs and necessary disaster expenses not met by other programs. Assessment teams continue to survey infrastructure damages throughout the state. The Governor plans to ask for public assistance to be added to the request after a sufficient number of surveys are completed. In many cases, flood waters are preventing assessment teams from examining damage to roads, bridges and other infrastructure.
Over night OEM assisted with sandbag requests from emergency managers in the City of Grove and Mayes County. The requests were made as a precautionary measure. Today, an additional request for sandbags came from emergency management officials in Rogers County where they are needed to prevent 12 homes from taking in water from the east side of Spencer Creek. OEM facilitated the delivery of sandbags through the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Two Oklahoma National Guard water trailers are in South Coffeyville to provide drinking water to the community. Four Guard personnel, two trucks and the two trailers were deployed Wednesday night from Tulsa. Also, Food Bank officials will deliver a truckload of bottled water to the fire station in South Coffeyville today.
Oklahoma National Guard personnel remain in Miami where they are providing perimeter security. Additionally, Oklahoma National Guard water trailers continue to provide drinking water for Miami and Nowata residents, especially those on well systems.
All 77 Oklahoma counties remain under a State of Emergency. The executive order issued by Gov. Brad Henry in May serves as a formal mechanism for local governments to seek reimbursement for recovery costs through the state’s public assistance program as conditions warrant.
OEM and OHP continue to assist with response, recovery efforts at the Bartlesville/Washington County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) in Bartlesville and at the City of Miami EOC. DEQ officials are also assisting at impacted areas around the state.
Initial damage assessments show 836 homes damaged by the flooding in Comanche, Ottawa, Pottawatomie and Washington counties. Of those, 240 homes were destroyed, 276 sustained major damage, 164 had minor damage and 156 were affected by the flooding. Another 43 multi-family properties, primarily apartments, also sustained damage; 13 were destroyed and 30 had major damage. Many businesses were also destroyed or sustained major damage.
The Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) reports a number of Oklahomans who lost water pressure as a result of the recent weather events are on private water wells. DEQ urges those citizens to disinfect their wells before using them. Instructions on how to disinfect individual water wells is available at www.deq.state.ok.us or by visiting a local DEQ office. Additionally, DEQ encourages residents on private wells affected by the storms to have their water tested for bacteria. DEQ and the Tulsa City/County Health Department will waive fees associated with bacterial sampling for these individuals. To find out more about sampling, please contact a local DEQ office. DEQ also is working closely with EPA to monitor the effects of the crude oil spill into the Verdigris River. As a precaution, crews have begun sampling the water in the Verdigris River and at Lake Oologah.
Officials with Oklahoma Medical Reserve Corps’ Animal Response Team continue to assist with displaced pet needs at the Miami Animal Shelter and at the temporary Washington County Animal Shelter opened at the Dewey Agriculture Center in Dewey.
For Oklahoma residents seeking non-emergency disaster or health and human service information, please contact your local 2-1-1. Services are available 24 hours a day by dialing 2-1-1 from your home or cellular telephone in the following counties.
Northeastern Oklahoma: In Craig, Delaware, Mayes, Nowata, Ottawa and Washington counties dial 2-1-1 or 918-336-2255. In Adair, Cherokee, Creek, McIntosh, Muskogee, Okmulgee, Osage, Rogers, Sequoyah, Tulsa and Wagoner counties dial 2-1-1 or 918-836-4357. In Okfuskee County dial 918-836-4357.
Central Oklahoma: In Canadian, Cleveland, Grady, Kingfisher, Lincoln, Logan, McClain, Oklahoma and Pottawatomie counties dial 2-1-1 or 405-286-4057.
Southeastern Oklahoma: In Atoka, Bryan, Carter, Choctaw, Coal, Garvin, Haskell, Hughes, Jefferson, Johnston, Latimer, LeFlore, Love, Marshall, McCurtain, Murray, Pittsburg, Pontotoc, Pushmataha, Seminole and Stephens counties call 2-1-1 or 580-332-0558.
Southwest Oklahoma: In Beckham, Caddo, Comanche, Cotton, Greer, Harmon, Jackson, Kiowa, Tillman, and Washita counties call 2-1-1 or 580-355-7575.
Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT) and Oklahoma Highway Patrol (OHP) officials advise motorists to use caution as they drive on Oklahoma roadways. Though roads may remain open, motorists are encouraged to find alternate routes if the road appears flooded. Motorists should drive for the conditions by slowing down and avoiding driving into any high water situations. As water levels drop, ODOT crews will be inspecting the highways and structures for damages and will make the necessary repairs as quickly as possible.
ODOT reports due to changing weather conditions in Oklahoma and Texas, the Heartland Flyer may be unable to travel its scheduled route. If so, Amtrak will bus train passengers to each stop. The bus will depart from Oklahoma City at the regular time of 8:25 a.m. and return at its scheduled 9:39 p.m. To verify schedules, check passenger status or for information prior to departure, call 1-800-USA-RAIL.
For travel information in surrounding states call: Arkansas 800-245-1672; Texas 800-452-9292; Kansas 866-511-5368; and, Missouri 800-222-6400.
Local Damage Reports
Bartlesville/Washington County Emergency Management reports flood waters continue to recede in Bartlesville and throughout Washington County. At 7 a.m. today the Caney River was at 17.6 feet. Flood stage is 13 feet. Most streets are now open in Bartlesville and traffic is beginning to return to normal throughout the city. Many county roads will remain closed for a few days until crews can check roadways and bridges to make sure they are all safe for travel. Emergency management officials opened a call center to receive individuals’ damage reports at noon today. The call center will remain open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. each day including this weekend. The number to call is (918) 331-2710. Operators will need the address of the flooded structure and name of the home or business owner. Additionally, they will ask whether water got inside the structure and whether the owner has flood insurance. Callers are urged to have this information ready before making the call. For questions concerning the safety of buildings which were flooded, citizens can contact the City of Bartlesville Building Services Department at (918) 338-4240. Shelter and feeding services continue for those displaced by the flooding.
Durant/Bryan County Emergency Management reports at noon today Lake Texoma was at 639.32 feet, approximately eight inches below the spillway. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is forecasting that the lake will go over the spillway early tomorrow. At this point the Corps is expecting the lake to crest at 641.5 feet on or about July 9th. At that level, the water would be 1.5 inches above the spillway. The Corps is advising water will be over the spillway for 10 to 14 days. Emergency management officials continue to advise people downstream to move livestock, equipment, and other valuable possessions out of the Red River bottom. Residents are also advised to have an initial evacuation plan and to monitor local television and radio for updates. Officials don’t anticipate a major evacuation will be necessary. All necessary first responders have been placed on notice regarding the time line of the flooding. All are ready to respond if necessary. Numerous rumors have circulated regarding the integrity of the Denison Dam at Lake Texoma. The Corps says that the dam is not in any danger and everything is functioning normally. Through numerous media interviews emergency management officials have reassured the public there is no problem with the dam’s integrity. Lake Texoma remains closed at this time. Additionally, emergency management officials report about 60 residents in the Sand Point II neighborhood of Lake Texoma are cutoff by high water over the roadway. However, their homes are not in danger of flooding. Emergency management officials are working with OHP Lake Patrol and volunteer fire departments to assess the situation.
Garfield County Emergency Management reports the area is slowly drying out. Several bridges and roads were lost due to flooding. Last night’s rain dumped approximately 2.25 inches of rain in about an hour. This re-flooded some areas county officials had hoped to have access to just northwest of Waukomis. Most low lying areas are still impassable but rural residents, who know their way around, are finding alternate routes.
McIntosh County Emergency Management reports there are a few problems on county roads but most are open to traffic. Some roads, however, are closed to heavy trucks. Lake Eufaula continues to rise. It is expected to crest this afternoon. A number of businesses are closed due to the high lake level. Two city parks are now under water along with numerous baseball fields.
Miami Emergency Management reports the Neosho River was at 27.07 feet at 8 a.m. today. Flood stage is 15 feet. City officials have moved into a recovery phase and anticipate it will take numerous days for the water to recede from the hundreds of homes that remain flooded. Steve Owens Boulevard remains flooded, cutting off east-west traffic in the center of the city. Shelter and feeding services continue for those displaced by the flooding.