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Situation Update

Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 10, 2007 – 2:30 p.m. Update #17

Severe thunderstorms developed across Oklahoma Monday afternoon, producing excessive rainfall, strong winds and large hail. The storms moved southeast during the overnight hours and exited the state Tuesday morning. Hardest hit areas include Atoka, Cleveland, Creek, Grady, McCurtain, Muskogee, Oklahoma and Pottawatomie counties. Rainfall totals of three to six inches were common.

A flash flood watch remains in effect for central and southeast Oklahoma through early evening. Additional showers and thunderstorms are possible along the Red River this afternoon and evening. Thunderstorms will remain in the forecast through Saturday with the potential for additional excessive rainfall and 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.

Federal Disaster Assistance

Currently, Ottawa and Washington counties are declared for Individual Assistance. However, all Oklahomans who sustained damage to their home, business or vehicle since May 24th are urged to register for disaster assistance by calling (800) 621-FEMA (3362). The tele-registration line is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. OEM will monitor these calls and make additional requests for federal disaster assistance based on the calls received. Even if residents have registered with the American Red Cross, Salvation Army or a local call center, they still need to make the toll-free call to FEMA and report their damages. They may be eligible for assistance for housing repairs or temporary housing, U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) low-interest loans for individuals and businesses, disaster unemployment assistance, and grants for serious needs and necessary disaster expenses not met by other programs.

Yesterday, FEMA amended the July 7th major disaster declaration to include Emergency Protective Measures limited to Direct Federal Assistance for Comanche, Ottawa, Pottawatomie and Washington counties. This allows the state to deliver necessary emergency supplies, including bottled water, to these counties.

Assessment teams continue to survey infrastructure damages throughout the state. Governor Henry plans to ask for public assistance to be added to the disaster assistance request after a sufficient number of surveys are completed. In many cases, flood waters delayed assessment teams from examining damage to roads, bridges and other infrastructure.

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.

Utility Outages

The Oklahoma Corporation Commission reports about 10,000 OG&E and 3,300 PSO customers lost electric service during the storms last night and this morning. Currently, OG&E has 959 customers without power and 420 of those are in the north Oklahoma City area. PSO reports 926 customers remain without electric service and 721 of those are in the McAlester area.

Shelters/Mass Feeding

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. (4 stayed overnight)

Miami – First Christian Church at 2424 N. Main. (36 stayed overnight)

Red Cross continues to provide meals and cleaning kits for those in the damage areas.

Officials with Southern Baptist Men’s Disaster Relief are providing meals from their large feeding units in Miami at First Christian Church, 2424 N. Main and in Bartlesville at First Baptist Church, 405 S. Cherokee.

The Salvation Army Office in Bartlesville (101 N. Bucy) is serving as a cool zone for anyone needing respite from the heat. Two mobile canteens remain active and are serving hot meals, snacks, sandwiches and bottled water. Clean up kits are also available. Beginning tomorrow flood victims can apply for Salvation Army financial assistance for disaster related needs at the Bartlesville office. In Miami, three Salvation Army canteens continue to serve three meals a day.

Damage to Structures

With preliminary damage assessments (PDAs) complete in Comanche, Nowata and Pottawatomie counties and the cities of Miami and Bartlesville, 938 homes are identified as sustaining flood damage since May 24th. Of those, 252 homes were destroyed, 322 sustained major damage, 182 had minor damage and 182 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. More PDAs will be completed as necessary.

Additionally, OEM officials identified four structures damaged by the tornado that hit Warner last night. A church and a mobile home sustained roof damage. A home had siding and roof damage and a barn was destroyed. Officials with the National Weather Service are on site conducting a more comprehensive damage assessment.

State Assistance

Oklahoma National Guard water trailers and troops to support them remain in South Coffeyville and Lenapah.

OEM and FEMA officials are working to open disaster recovery centers (DRCs) in the hardest hit areas. The first DRC will open Friday in Bartlesville. After applying for disaster assistance by phone or on line, anyone with questions can visit a center to meet face-to-face with recovery specialists.

All 77 Oklahoma counties remain under a State of Emergency.

Officials with OEM, Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT), Oklahoma Highway Patrol (OHP), Oklahoma Water Resources Board and the Oklahoma State Department of Health continue to assist in impacted areas around the state.

Environmental Issues

DEQ encourages Oklahomans with questions regarding flooding to contact the agency’s hotline at 1-800-522-0206. DEQ continues to work with several communities to assess the damage and provide technical assistance. Also, DEQ, in coordination with EPA, is awaiting results for water samples taken from the Verdigris River and Lake Oologah following the recent oil spill. Those results are expected in the next couple of days. As flood waters recede, DEQ will continue to assess environmental conditions to help ensure all necessary actions are being taken to protect human health and the environment.

Animal Issues

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.

Travel Conditions

ODOT reports several highways around the state are reporting problem areas and either have been closed or have flaggers slowing traffic following this morning's rainstorms. As water levels drop, crews continue inspecting the highways and structures for damages and will make necessary repairs as quickly as possible. Although water may have receded in some areas, drivers are reminded NOT to go around barricades as damages exist and may not be fully visible. Additionally, US-169 / US-166 junction in Coffeyville, Kansas remains closed. ODOT crews are detouring northbound US-169 traffic at Nowata onto US-60 west to Bartlesville then north onto US-75 toward Independence, Kansas. This closure is due to damages in the Coffeyville area. Drivers should watch for message boards along US-169 in Nowata and Washington Counties and for Kansas detour directions across the state line. For Kansas road conditions call 866-511-5368. Amtrak Heartland Flyer is operating normally.

Local Reports

Bartlesville/Washington County Emergency Management reports cleanup and recovery efforts continue throughout affected areas of Washington County. Relief agencies, including the American Red Cross, Salvation Army and the Baptist Disaster Relief, continue to provide aid to flood victims throughout the area. One shelter remains open and meals are available for those affected by the flooding. Cleaning kits are also being distributed. County emergency management officials continue to operate a hotline for residents to call for local disaster relief information.

McClain County Emergency Management reports the area received 4.5 to 5 inches of rain since last night causing flooding to some homes. Two families were evacuated from Washington and an additional two families were evacuated from their homes on the north side of Walnut Creek, north of Washington. One home in Washington experienced damage from a fire as well as flooding this morning. County sheriffs are evacuating six families from a housing addition south of Dibble because a road washout has left them no way in or out of their property. Local American Red Cross representatives are assisting the displaced families. SH-24 is closed where it crosses Walnut Creek, near Washington. All barricade materials have been exhausted. Wing walls on several bridges have been lost and two bridges are washed out. Many culverts are also washed out. All sheriff and county personnel are involved in road blocking, repairs or rescues.

Miami Emergency Management reports cleanup and recovery efforts continue. Relief agencies, including the American Red Cross and Salvation Army continue to provide aid to flood victims throughout the area. One shelter remains open and meals are available for those affected by the flooding.

Moore Emergency Management reports the area received a substantial amount of rainfall and lightning from thunderstorms overnight. Southwest 34th Street was closed for a couple of hours at the low water crossing east of I-35, but is open at this time. The traffic lights at NW 12th and East Service are completely out; the Street Department has a four-way stop in place.

Norman Emergency Management reports this morning’s heavy rains caused flooding at two homes and a nursing home. No evacuations were needed. The Little River is out of its banks. Many trees were damaged and destroyed in Reeves Park. Too many people are still driving through flooded areas and stalling. Public safety officials spent a great deal of time pulling people out of the water.

Pontotoc County Emergency Management reports one home in Stonewall sustained flood damage after the area received 4 to 4.5 inches of rain overnight. All county districts report damaged roads, 20 culverts are washed out and 20 miles of roads are severely damaged.

Dial 2-1-1

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.

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