Ice Storm Response/Recovery Efforts Continue
Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Situation Update 17
12-15-07, 4 p.m.
Power outages down to 182,000 statewide
Injuries and Fatalities
The number of Ice Storm-related fatalities remains 23, according to the Oklahoma State Medical Examiner’s Office: 13 died in motor vehicle accidents including one who died when a utility pole fell on his vehicle in Tulsa; 8 died in house fires, including one in Broken Arrow this morning and one in Tulsa last night; and 2 died of carbon monoxide poisoning.
A Northeast Oklahoma Electric Cooperative lineman remains hospitalized after being injured Tuesday.
Oklahoma Corporation Commission reports statewide 182,783 homes and businesses are without electric service.
AEP-PSO reports 65,984 customers without power, including 62,454 in the Tulsa metro area and 3,105 in Vinita.
OG&E reports about 100,000 customers without power. Most of the outages are in the Oklahoma City metro area.
Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives reports 11,999 rural electric customers without power including 4,500 Verdigris Valley Electric and 4,108 Northeast Oklahoma Electric customers. OAEC also reports 3,106 poles destroyed by the ice storm.
Municipal Electric Systems of Oklahoma reports about 3,900 customers without power in Collinsville, Cushing, Miami, Pryor, Skiatook and Stroud. Municipal governments providing crews to assist include Denton and Garland, Texas; Siloam Springs, Bentonville, and Clarksville, Arkansas; and the Oklahoma cities of Cordell, Duncan, Edmond, Pawhuska, Ponca City, Purcell, Sallisaw, Spiro, Stillwater, Stillwell and Wagoner.
Empire District Electric Company reports about 900 customers without power in far northeast areas of the state.
No weather advisories are posted this afternoon. Skies should clear allowing for temperatures to drop into the mid-teens to low 20s across the state. Sunday through Tuesday will be precipitation-free accompanied by a warming trend.
The Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT) reports crews have been plowing snow accumulation off the roadways and applying sand and salt in slick areas. There are some slick spots particularly on east/west roadways and on elevated structures due to blowing and drifting snow. Even though accumulation may be lighter than expected, drivers should be alert to changing conditions. Even a light coating of snow as well as slush on the roadways can cause slick driving conditions. Drivers should be alert to blowing snow with increased winds. In the Tulsa area, SH-97 north of Sand Springs remains narrowed to one lane as PSO crews repair fallen power lines. Expected drops in temperature this weekend could cause refreezing of any water on the roadways, particularly on bridges and overpasses. Motorists should be aware of “black ice" which appears wet on the roadway, but is actually a thin layer of ice.
The Oklahoma Highway Patrol (OHOP) urges motorists to slow down when driving near crews providing electric restoration. Crews working on Oklahoma’s power lines report drivers are speeding past them and coming too close as they pass. This is creating additional hazards to the workers. Troopers report roadways are snow packed and slick in Alfalfa, Blaine, Garfield, Grand, Kingfisher, Major and Woods counties. Roads throughout Kay, Noble and Payne counties are slick and hazardous and numerous accidents, slide-offs were reported on I-35. Roads in the southwest are wet with slick bridges and overpasses. In Cimarron County roads are slick in spots. In Beaver, Ellis, Harper, Texas and Woodward counties roads remain snow-packed, slick and hazardous. In Craig, Delaware, Mayes, Nowata, Ottawa, Rogers and Washington counties and on Will Rogers and Cherokee turnpikes roadways are wet, bridges and overpasses are becoming slick in spots. Troopers advise drivers to be cautious and travel slowly.
For Oklahoma Road Conditions call 888-425-2385, a toll-free information line operated by the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety. For road conditions in neighboring states call: Texas, 800-452-9292; Kansas, 866-511-5368; Arkansas, 800-245-1672; and Missouri, 800-222-6400.
Gov. Brad Henry today asked President George Bush for a major disaster declaration for an initial seven Oklahoma counties devastated by the recent ice storm. As more damage assessments are completed, requests will be made for additional counties to be declared. If approved, cities, towns and counties impacted by last weekend’s ice storm will receive public assistance for expenses related to response and recovery efforts. The counties listed in the request are: Cleveland, Lincoln, Mayes, Oklahoma, Pottawatomie, Tulsa and Wagoner. In these seven counties, preliminary estimates for debris removal and utility damage (rural electric cooperatives and municipally-operated electric systems) alone exceed $30.4 million. Preliminary damage assessments continue in affected counties throughout the state.
Earlier this week, President Bush approved Oklahoma’s request for an emergency declaration covering all 77 counties. That designation authorized federal resources to assist state and local governments as they continue to respond to the ice storm.
The Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management (OEM) continues to build the state’s case for federal Individual Assistance. Residents and business owners who have uninsured ice storm damages are urged to call the toll-free Oklahoma Damage Assessment Hotline (866) 560-7584 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Operators are on-hand to take the calls daily. Since opening Thursday, the hotline has taken 3,000 damage reports. Due to heavy call volume, the line is often busy. Oklahomans are reminded there is plenty of time to report their damage. The hotline is open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week and will remain open for at least the next 10 days. THIS IS NOT A FEMA APPLICATION LINE. IT IS OPERATED BY THE OKLAHOMA DEPARTMENT OF EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT.
All 77 Oklahoma counties also remain under a State of Emergency and the State Emergency Operations Center (EOC) remains activated. In addition to OEM, agencies and organizations represented at the EOC include the Oklahoma State Department of Health, Oklahoma Corporation Commission, ODOT, Oklahoma Department of Public Safety, Oklahoma Military Department, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Department of Energy, OG&E, Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives, American Red Cross and the Salvation Army. Resources continue to be deployed to cities and towns through the State EOC.
Shelters and Mass Feeding
Shelters are open at the following 46 locations.
- Agra– Senior Citizen Center
- Bartlesville- First Baptist Church, 405 S. Cherokee
- Beggs – First Baptist Church, 110 W. Fifth
- Bixby - New Beginnings Church, 4104 E. 151st
- Bristow – Bristow Indian Community Center, 710 S. Main
- Bristow – First Baptist Church
- Broken Arrow- Arrow Heights Church, 3201 S. Elm Place
- Carney - Community Center, 701 S. Highway 177
- Catoosa – 20 S. 200 Ave.
- Cedar Lake– Fire Department, 11150 S. Cedar Road
- Chandler- First Baptist Church, 912 W. First
- Claremore - First United Methodist Church, 1615 N. Highway 88
- Collinsville- First Baptist Church, 1301 W. Main
- Commerce - Southeast Baptist Church, 206 Amarillo Drive
- Coweta – First Assembly of God, 29707 E. SH 51
- Cushing – Cushing Jr. High School
- Davenport– Davenport Nazarene Church, 116 E. First
- Disney – Lakemont Shores Fire Department
- Disney – Delaware Fire Department
- Drumright – First Baptist Church, 229 S. Ohio
- Jennings– First Baptist Church, 602 N. Main
- Ketchum - Methodist Church, 206 Amarillo Drive
- Mannford - Community Activity Center, 100 Common Ave.
- Meeker – 510 W. Carl Hubbard
- Miami- Assembly of God, 1815 E. Steve Owens Blvd.
- Moore– Community Center, 301 S. Howard (NE corner of 4th and I-35)
- Newcastle– Newcastle Storm Shelter, 851 N. Car
- Oilton – Freewill Baptist Church
- Oklahoma City– Cox Center
- Okmulgee– Twin Hills Indian Community, 8110 Hwy 52 and 16
- Owasso - First Christian, 96th Street Nand 122nd Ave. East
- Rolling Hills – Community Center, 20 E. 200 E Ave.
- Sapulpa– Sapulpa Indian Community, 1020 N. Brown
- Sapulpa– First Presbyterian Church
- Shawnee- Expo Center, 1700 W. Independence
- Skiatook – First Baptist Church, 940 W. Oak
- Sperry - First Baptist Church, 115 N. Cincinnati
- Tryon – First Baptist Church
- Tulsa- First Baptist Church, 403 S. Cincinnati
- Tulsa- Asbury United Methodist Church, 6767 S. Mingo
- Tulsa- Lutheran Church of Good Sheppard, 8730 E. Skelly Drive
- Tulsa- Tulsa Indian Community, 8611 S. Union
- Vera - Fire Department
- Welch – Welch Civic Center, 600 S. Curtis
- Welston – First Baptist Church
- Yale – Yale Senior Center
The American Red Cross reports about 2,000 individuals stayed at shelters Friday night.
Public Health Precautions After the Ice Storm
As Oklahomans continue to deal with power outages and other problems resulting from this week's ice storm, the Oklahoma State Department of Health provides the following safety recommendations regarding the use of kerosene heaters, assuring food safety, and the proper use of chain saws.
Significant power outages have prompted many Oklahomans to purchase portable kerosene heaters as heat sources. Public health officials warn that adequate ventilation is absolutely necessary for the safe operation of these heaters. Burning kerosene consumes oxygen and produces toxic gases including carbon monoxide. Ventilation is necessary to replace oxygen and remove these gases so asphyxiation and other respiratory problems do not occur. Kerosene heaters should also be placed a minimum of 36 inches from combustible materials such as curtains and furniture.
Food Safety After Power Loss
If power is out for less than two hours, then food in your refrigerator and freezer is safe to consume. If the power is out longer, then note that a half-full freezer will hold food safely for about 24 hours; a full freezer will hold food safely about 48 hours. Do not taste food to determine if it "tastes safe." Discard any perishable food that has been above 40 F for more than two hours. It is not a good idea to put food from the refrigerator and freezer outside. The outside temperature can vary hour by hour, and frozen food can thaw if exposed to the sun's rays, even if it is very cold. Take advantage of the cold temperatures by making ice. Fill buckets, empty milk cartons or cans with water and place them outside to freeze. Then put the homemade ice in your refrigerator, freezer or coolers. Food may be safely refrozen when power is returned if the food still has ice crystals or is at 40 F or below. You may have to evaluate each food item separately.
For more information on how to recover from a power emergency, visit this Web site: http://emergency.cdc.gov/disasters/poweroutage/needtoknow.asp
Chain Saw Safety
As Oklahomans begin to deal with the thousands of trees downed by the ice, many will be using chain saws to cut and remove limbs from trees, and not everyone will be experienced in handling chain saws safely. Be sure to choose the proper size of chain saw to match the job. Check to make certain the saw has safety features such as a brake, front and rear hand guards, stop switch, chain catcher and spark arrester. Don't forget to wear appropriate protective equipment, including a hard hat, safety glasses, hearing protectors, heavy work boots, and cut-resistant leg wear (chain saw chaps).
Cut at waist level or below to ensure you maintain secure control over the chain saw, and take extra care in cutting trees or branches that are bent, twisted, hung up or caught. If the tree or branch is suddenly released, it may strike the person cutting them or a bystander. Most importantly, be sure to avoid contact with power lines. Finally, the Oklahoma State Department of Health reminds everyone to check daily on elderly friends, relatives and neighbors who live alone.
Oklahoma 211 continues to receive calls from Oklahomans impacted by the Ice Storm. 211 is for anyone seeking non-emergency disaster or health and human service information. Services are available 24 hours a day by dialing 2-1-1 from your home or cellular telephone in the following areas.
Tulsa Area/Green Country, dial 2-1-1 or 918-836-4357
OKC Metro/Central OK, dial 2-1-1 or 405-286-4057
Southeastern OK, dial 2-1-1 or 580-332-0558
Northeast OK, dial 2-1-1 or 918-336-2255
Southwest OK, dial 2-1-1 or 580-355-7575
Due to high call volumes, callers may receive a busy signal when calling 2-1-1. Call specialists are available 24/7, so please continue to call 2-1-1 for disaster related information.