Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Situation Update 1
March 20, 2010, 7:45 a.m.
WINTER STORM IMPACTING STATE
State Emergency Operations Center Activated
Due to the winter storm moving through Oklahoma, the State Emergency Operations Center (EOC) is activated and the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management (OEM) is in contact with emergency managers in the affected areas and will call on state and federal agencies to provide resources as needed.
Oklahoma remains under a State of Emergency. At the request of Gov. Brad Henry, Lt. Gov. Jari Askins approved the paperwork declaring the emergency on Friday. The State of Emergency marks a first step toward seeking federal assistance, should it be necessary. Additionally, the executive order allows state agencies to make emergency purchases and acquisitions needed to expedite the delivery of resources to local jurisdictions.
The declaration provides a formal mechanism for local governments to seek reimbursement for recovery costs through the state’s disaster public assistance program as conditions warrant.
A Winter Storm Warning continues for much of Oklahoma today. The arctic cold front that ushered in strong winds and much colder temperatures will exit southeast Oklahoma shortly. In the wake of this front, temperatures are below freezing across much of the warned area resulting in widespread snowfall. In areas near freezing a mixture of light freezing rain and sleet is occurring. Precipitation will continue through the day into the evening hours. In far western Oklahoma and the Panhandle precipitation will start to taper off during the evening hours. A band of heavy snow, in excess of 8 inches is expected across sections of eastern Oklahoma before the storm exits the state by late Sunday. All 77 Oklahoma counties are currently under winter weather advisories or warnings.
The Oklahoma Department of Transportation is monitoring road conditions statewide and reports 1/4 to 1/2 inches of snow in western Oklahoma, where crews are out monitoring and treating roads and bridges as necessary. In central Oklahoma, where a light mist and sleet is reported in some areas, along with freezing temperatures, crews are treating bridges, which are the first areas to freeze.
The Cedar Lake Fire Department has opened a travelers rest area at the Rock of Restoration Church, 120 S. Walbaum, in Geary (I-40 at Exit #108). The facility can be expanded to an overnight shelter if conditions warrant.
OEM continues to receive updates from the National Weather Service and stands ready to assist the American Red Cross, Salvation Army and other disaster relief organizations in opening additional shelters and mass feeding sites as necessary.
OEM has industrial size generators pre-staged around the state. The generators will be deployed for use in hospitals, shelters and to keep water treatment plants online in the event of power outages. Please note these generators are not for residential use.
PRICE GOUGING STATUTE IN EFFECT
Oklahoma’s price gouging statute is 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 urged to contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Unit at (405) 521-2029.
SLIPS AND FALLS
Oklahomans are reminded of the increased danger of slips and falls due to winter weather and urged to exercise caution as they venture outdoors to clear their porches, sidewalks and vehicles of ice and snow.
For Oklahoma residents seeking non-emergency health and human service information, please contact your local 2-1-1. Services are available 24 hours a day by dialing 2-1-1 from your home or cellular telephone. Please only call 911 for emergencies.