Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Situation Update 27
12-21-07, 2 p.m.
Ice Storm Recovery Efforts Continue
Injuries and Fatalities
The number of ice storm-related fatalities remains 29, according to officials with the Oklahoma State Medical Examiner’s Office.
16 died in motor vehicle accidents
9 died in house fires
2 died of carbon monoxide poisoning
2 died of hypothermia
A Northeast Oklahoma Electric Cooperative lineman injured during power restoration efforts was released from a Tulsa hospital Thursday.
Oklahoma Corporation Commission reports statewide about 3,500 homes and businesses are without electric service.
AEP-PSO reports electric service has been returned to all structures that can safely receive power at this time.
OG&E reports 2,328 outages, primarily in the Oklahoma City metro area. Customers who are still without service most likely have property damage requiring repair by an electrician before they can be reconnected to the OG&E system. Any OG&E customer without service is asked to call (800) 522-6870.
Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives reports about 1,200 Verdigris Valley Electric Cooperative customers are without power. Verdigris Valley officials will work through the weekend in an attempt to return power to these customers. OAEC also reports about 4,000 poles destroyed by the ice storm.
After a warm Friday, winter will return on Saturday. Temperatures will be much colder with a strong north wind and wind chills in the teens across Oklahoma. Snow is expected in northern Oklahoma on Saturday with accumulations of 2 to 4 inches likely, tapering off to one inch in central sections. Sunday through Tuesday will be cool with temperatures in the 40s.
Today Gov. Brad Henry requested that 18 more Oklahoma counties receive federal disaster aid to assist with infrastructure damage caused by the ice storm. Already, seven Oklahoma counties are declared for public assistance under the major disaster declaration that President Bush granted earlier this week. If this latest request is approved, the additional counties will receive federal funding to assist local governments with repairs to roads, bridges and public facilities, debris removal as well as the costs associated with responding to the ice storm. The requested counties are: Beaver, Caddo, Canadian, Craig, Creek, Delaware, Grady, McClain, Nowata, Okfuskee, Okmulgee, Osage, Ottawa, Pawnee, Payne, Rogers, Seminole and Washington. Already declared for public assistance are the counties of Cleveland, Lincoln, Mayes, Oklahoma, Pottawatomie, Tulsa and Wagoner. As additional preliminary damage assessments are completed, more counties will be requested to receive public assistance.
Officials with the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management (OEM) continue to document damage to homes and business which will be used to support a request for individual assistance. Residents and business owners with uninsured ice-storm damages are urged to go online at www.oem.ok.gov and report their damage via the Oklahoma Ice Storm Damage Assessment link. Already, the state has received more than 8,500 damage reports from individuals and business owners. The Oklahoma Damage Assessment Hotline (866) 560-7584 will close at 7 p.m. Saturday.
Assistance Available for Meter Base Repairs
Assistance continues for homeowners in need of repairs to electric meter boxes and weather-heads damaged by the ice storm. The cities of Choctaw, Del City, Midwest City, Norman, Oklahoma City and Tulsa are participating in the program. This is the first time a program of this type has been done anywhere in the nation. Under the program, the city pays 12.5 percent of the cost with FEMA picking up 75 percent and the State of Oklahoma funding the remaining 12.5 percent. In Oklahoma City, residents have until 7 p.m. today to register for the program at (800) 627-3464. In Tulsa, residents have until 7 p.m. Sunday to register at (866) 789-8898. In other communities, residents may contact their electric provider or city, town officials to find out whether their municipality is participating in the program.
All shelters are closed at this time. At the height of the storm’s impact, 47 shelters were open across the state. The American Red Cross operated many of the shelters with feeding assistance provided by the Salvation Army and the Southern Baptist Men’s Relief Effort. More than 100,000 meals were served to those displaced by the ice storm as well as first responders and electric restoration crews.
Price Gouging Statute Remains in Effect
Oklahoma’s price gouging statute remains in effect in all of Oklahoma’s 77 counties due to the State of Emergency. The price gouging statute prohibits an increase of more than 10 percent in the price of most goods and services when a State of Emergency has been declared. Anyone who suspects price gouging is taking place, is urged to contact the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Unit at (405) 521-2029. Investigators will look into all price gouging reports received.
Oklahoma 211 continues to receive calls from Oklahomans impacted by the Ice Storm. 211, operated 24 hours a day, 7 days a week is available for anyone seeking non-emergency disaster or health and human service information.
Services are available by dialing 2-1-1 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
In the last week, 2-1-1s across the state have taken more than 23,000 calls – more than four times the monthly call volume! Emergency shelter, food, mental health assistance, rumor control, disaster program information, transportation, debris removal, and holiday assistance program have been the most common needs requested. Calls are now shifting, however, to long term recovery, case management, and basic human service needs.