Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 29, 2007 – 5:30 p.m. Update #8
A weak low pressure system continues in western Oklahoma this afternoon. Warm and moist air continues to flow north into Oklahoma resulting in widespread rainfall across the state. The past few days have seen the most significant rainfall near and along the I-44 corridor with northward development into Garfield, Grant, Osage and Pawnee counties. Continued excessive rainfall is expected through Saturday night, leading to additional flash flooding.
A flash flood watch continues until Saturday evening for generally the I-44 corridor north and west. The weak low pressure system is expected to remain in the area 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.
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.
No storm related power outages reported at this time.
The American Red Cross is operating the following shelters to help those displaced by flooding:
Cache – First United Methodist Church
Lawton – Cameron Baptist Church, 2621 SW C Avenue
Snyder – First Baptist Church, at Eighth and E streets
The Oklahoma Department of Transportation and Oklahoma Highway Patrol remind motorists to slow down, drive for wet road conditions and avoid driving into high water or any moving water. It only takes a minimal amount of moving water for cars to be swept away. 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.
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.
Preliminary damage assessments for potential individual assistance will begin in Pottawatomie County on Monday. Joint teams representing OEM, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Small Business Administration will join Shawnee/Pottawatomie County Emergency Management officials in examining the damage to homes and businesses, primarily in Shawnee and Tecumseh. Additional PDAs will be requested for recently reported damages in Comanche County and other counties along the Red River. Residents and business owners who sustained uninsured or under-insured property damage are urged to report the damage information to their local emergency manager. OEM, FEMA and local officials continue to assess infrastructure damage caused by the flooding. The PDAs are needed to gauge whether damages meet the criteria to qualify for disaster assistance.
OEM is working with the Oklahoma Military Department to deliver water trailers to Ralston in Pawnee County. A water main break earlier today left the town in need of potable water. The water trailers delivered to Chickasha earlier this week were returned after the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality lifted the boil order.
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.
Local Damage Reports
Comanche County Emergency Management is experiencing widespread flooding with road closings and some evacuations underway. In East Lawton, the Garden Village housing subdivision is under a mandatory evacuation. A voluntary evacuation order is in effect for the Turtle Creek subdivision. About 200 homes are at risk for flooding in the two subdivisions. Shelters are open in Lawton and Cache. Lawton officials have asked individuals residing in travel trailers at Lake Lawtonka campgrounds to voluntarily evacuate. The campsite at Lake Lawtonka is also experiencing some flooding. With rain continuing to fall and more rain expected, the water level at Lake Lawtonka continues to rise; Lake Ellsworth is currently holding a steady level. With that said, the floodgates at both lakes are continuing to be opened further. The Lake Lawtonka Dam has all flood gates opened at 11 inches. East Cache Creek is at 28.06 feet and is expected to crest at 29.5 feet at 6 a.m. Sunday. For information regarding road closings, go to www.comanchecounty.us
Kiowa County Emergency Management reports 12 to 15 people were evacuated from Mountain Park due to high water. Flooding also reported in Snyder, Saddle Mountain and Mountain View.