Situation Update Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management
Situation Update 2 January 26, 2009 – 7 p.m.
WINTER STORM CONTINUES TO IMPACT STATE
Due to the severe winter weather, the State Emergency Operations Center (EOC) remains at Level Two activation, which involves extended operating hours for key personnel. The Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management (OEM) remains in contact with emergency managers in the affected areas.
STATE OF EMERGENCY
Gov. Brad Henry has declared a State of Emergency for all 77 Oklahoma counties. The executive order marks a first step toward seeking federal assistance should it be necessary. Additionally, the order allows state agencies to make emergency purchases and acquisitions needed to expedite the delivery of resources to local jurisdictions. The Governor also issued an executive order aimed at helping utility crews handle storm-related repairs, allowing a 30-day waiver on permit requirements for use of overweight and oversized vehicles.
FATALITIES AND INJURIES
The Oklahoma Highway Patrol (OHP) reports two individuals died in two separate crashes; one on the Turner Turnpike near Chandler and the other on the Will Rogers Turnpike near Afton. Additionally, OHP reports 60 injury collisions. OHP worked another 140 non-injury wrecks. Roads remain slick and hazardous. Travel is discouraged.
No weather related power outages reported.
The National Weather Service continues to post an Ice Storm Warning for nine counties in southeast and east central regions of the state. There, ice accumulations of .50 to 1 inch are possible. Moderate impacts are expected to critical infrastructure, including power facilities in this area and travel is expected to be highly impacted.
A Winter Storm Warning remains posted north of a line from Durant to Muskogee to Stillwell and south of a line from Snyder to Ponca City. A mixture of sleet and freezing rain is expected in this area and ice accumulations of .25 to .50 inch are likely. Low impacts are expected to critical infrastructure, but travel will be highly impacted. Far western Oklahoma is under a Winter Weather Advisory. Only minor impacts from sleet are expected in this area.
Freezing rain continues across central and eastern Oklahoma. By tonight, the eastern two-thirds of the state will likely experience hazardous travel conditions. Some areas may experience power outages as well. Freezing rain will continue in central Oklahoma through Tuesday morning tapering off to freezing drizzle during the afternoon. Freezing rain will continue in eastern Oklahoma through Tuesday.
OEM continues to work with local, state, federal and tribal partners to establish staging centers through Emergency Operations Centers in McAlester and Muskogee. The staging centers allow resources to be centrally located to the areas expected to be most adversely impacted by the storm. The resources include those needed for shelter operations like bottled water, cots, blankets and food.
Additionally, OEM is working with FEMA to deliver industrial size generators that would be used for shelters and to provide power to water treatment facilities in the event of electric service disruptions.
Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief reports they have prepositioned feeding trailers in Tulsa, Okmulgee, Muskogee and Tahlequah for use should power outages require mass feeding. OEM is also working with the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army on prepositioning additional resources that might be needed for possible shelters and warming stations.
Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT) crews continue to treat slick areas on highways and interstates across the state. Drivers should avoid unnecessary travel, and be alert to rapidly changing conditions throughout the night. ODOT crews will continue to work around the clock to treat affected areas to keep the highways and interstates clear.
As a reminder, during snow and ice conditions, motorists are asked to:
- Be aware that conditions are continually changing; drive cautiously and for the conditions on the roadway.
- Allow extra space between vehicles so there is adequate distance for braking in wet and icy conditions.
- Stay at least 200 feet behind road clearing equipment; crews need room to maneuver and can engage plowing or spreading materials without notice.
- Be aware of "black ice" conditions, which looks wet on the roadway but is a thin layer of ice.
- If you must travel, please be patient, plan trips ahead and allow extra time in reaching destinations.
For Oklahoma road conditions call toll free (888) 425-2385. For out-of-state road conditions: Arkansas 800-245-1672; Missouri 800-222-6400; Texas 800-452-9292
Additionally, the Heartland Flyer will not run tonight or tomorrow morning due to weather conditions. For further information, Amtrak can be contacted at 1-800-USA-RAIL.
Numerous schools and businesses closed early today and many have already cancelled for Tuesday.
For non-emergency disaster or health and human service information, please call 2-1-1. The 2-1-1 line is statewide and provides one phone number to call from your home or cell phone where a specialist can assess the caller’s needs and determine what service providers in the area are best equipped to provide assistance. 2-1-1 services are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Due to high call volumes, you may receive a busy signal when calling 2-1-1. Should you experience this, please leave a message at the prompt or remain on the line and a specialist will be with you as soon as possible. 2-1-1 Oklahoma consists of 7 call regions operational in all 77 Oklahoma counties. The call regions are located in the following:
Ada/Southeastern OK: 2-1-1 or 580-332-0558
Bartlesville/Northeastern OK: 2-1-1 or 918-336-2255
Enid/North Central OK: 2-1-1 or 580-237-4357
Lawton/Southwest OK: 2-1-1 or 580-355-7575
OKC Metro/Central OK: 2-1-1 or 405-286-4057
Tulsa Area/Green Country OK: 2-1-1 or 918-836-4357
Woodward/Northwest OK: 2-1-1 or 580-256-6819
For more information, visit www.211oklahoma.org.
Jefferson County Emergency Management reports roads are slick and crews are salting roads throughout the county.
Lincoln County Emergency Management reports multiple accidents, including one fatality on the Turner Turnpike and 13 rollover accidents. Every ambulance in this county has been dispatched on multiple accidents. Several calls for falls due to Ice
Custer County Emergency Management reports roads are extremely slick and hazardous. Ice began about 8:30 am and by 9:30 am we had 10 vehicles off the road on I-40, three vehicles off the road on county roads and ambulances were all out making runs. Arapaho Schools shut down at noon and Thomas schools shut down at 1 pm. Clinton and Weatherford schools allowed parents to pick up students early. Courthouse also closed early. Everything is covered in ice but accumulation is small, one-eighth inch or less.
Del City Emergency Management reports emergency operations center was activated.
Logan County Emergency Management reports Guthrie roads are very slick and hazardous. Guthrie Fire Department has responded to several car wrecks on I-35 north of Guthrie. A number of motor vehicle accidents have been reported to the Emergency Operations Center. Citizens are encouraged to use caution as they travel today.
Payne County Emergency Management reports ice on bridges, roadways, and sidewalks in Payne County. Numerous injury accidents reported county-wide.
Norman Emergency Management reports fire and emergency medical officials have responded to 18 people for falls. More than 80 wrecks have been reported including seven involving injuries. The city has cancelled meetings scheduled for the evening. The University of Oklahoma is closed for today. All major road routes in Norman are clear and will continue to be treated throughout the evening hours.
Altus Emergency Management reports seven accidents, one with serious injury, in Jackson County.