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Situation Update

Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 27, 2007 – 10 a.m. Update #5

A weak low pressure system continues across western Oklahoma. This system, combined with tropical moisture, has resulted in widespread showers and thunderstorms the past two weeks. Parts of southwest and central Oklahoma were particularly hard hit on Tuesday with 4 to 6 inches of rain common over a few hours. Hardest hit areas were in Cotton, Grady, Jefferson, Love, Oklahoma, Pottawatomie and Stephens counties.

A flash flood watch continues in effect through Thursday for much of Oklahoma, with the exception of northwest sections. The weak low pressure system is forecast to remain in the region through Friday.

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.

Power Outages

No storm related power outages reported at this time.

Shelters

No shelters reported open at this time.

Road Conditions

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.

State Assistance

All 77 Oklahoma counties remain under a State of Emergency.

OEM is working to deliver potable water to the City of Chickasha after the city lost a substantial amount of treated water overnight due to a water main break.

OEM and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) representatives continue to join local officials in conducting joint preliminary damage assessments (PDAs). The PDAs are needed to gauge 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.

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 officials in nine 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, Sequoyah and Woodward counties.

Local Damage Reports

Chickasha Emergency Management reports city officials are working to locate and repair a water main break that left the south part of the city without water over night. The north part of the city has water because it’s on a separate water system. City officials believe the water main break may be located in one of the swollen creeks in the area.

Comanche County Emergency Management reports some of the water at low-water crossings has receded, but East Cache Creek is still at almost 28 feet which is 7 feet above flood stage.

Officials continue to monitor closely the weather radar and road conditions.

Jefferson County Emergency Management reports several county roads remain closed due to high water conditions. Several roads in the City of Waurika will remain closed until damage caused by flooding can be repaired. No evacuations underway but several residents left on their own seeking safer ground. Major damage reported to a bridge north of the Waurika on SH-5. Cow Creek is out of its banks at Addington, west of US-81.

Lincoln County Emergency Management reports about two dozen roads remain under water and another dozen are completely washed out. The approaches to several bridges are also washed out. Officials made three water rescues yesterday. Some homes sustained minor flood damage.

Marietta/Love County Emergency Management reports residents along the Red River area have been warned of possible flooding. Prompted by the National Weather Service flood warning for Love and Cooke counties, last night Love County Sheriff’s deputies, along with members of the Thackerville Fire Department went door to door along the river area warning residents that flooding was forecasted for the river. This activity was done across the western part of the county to the Loves Valley area. At 4 a.m. today the river was at 22.5 feet. Flood stage is 25.0 feet. The river should crest at 31.0 feet by 1 p.m. on Thursday. The river is expected to fall below flood stage around 10 p.m. on Saturday.

Pontotoc County Emergency Management reports three county roads washed out, two culverts destroyed and one bridge damaged. Some roads remain closed due to high water.

Shawnee/Pottawatomie County Emergency Management reports damage to homes and businesses in Shawnee and Tecumseh. Initial damage assessments show 46 homes sustained major damage and 60 homes sustained minor damage due to yesterday’s flooding. Additionally, seven businesses sustained major damage. Residents are urged to report damage to structures by calling (405) 878-1777. Reports will be taken until 7 p.m. today. Road damage was also reported, including on Hardesty Drive where the asphalt buckled in an area 20 feet long by 5 feet deep. County roads were also damaged and at least one bridge was washed out.

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