Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Situation Update 3
March 21, 2010, 3:15 p.m.
WINTER STORM UPDATE
The State Emergency Operations Center (EOC) has returned to Level One activation. Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management (OEM) staff has returned to regular hours while maintaining 24-hour contact with emergency managers in the areas still affected by the winter storm through a duty officer.
STATE OF EMERGENCY
Oklahoma remains under a State of Emergency, as approved by state authorities 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.
REQUESTS FOR STATE ASSISTANCE
There were no requests for state assistance.
INJURIES AND FATALITIES
The Oklahoma Highway Patrol (OHP) reports 2 fatality and 75 injury crashes investigated due to the winter storm. This morning a 77-year-old Marietta woman died in a one-vehicle crash on SH-32, three miles east of Marietta. The driver lost control on the icy road before striking a tree. On Saturday, a seven-year-old Fort Worth girl died in a crash on I-35 in Logan County. OHP investigated a total of 244 collisions related to the storm and responded to another 500 slide-off incidents that were not investigated.
A Winter Storm Warning continues for the eastern one third of Oklahoma, generally US-75 and east. Snowfall will continue in this area through late evening as a strong storm system moves east of the state. By early Monday all precipitation is expected to be east of Oklahoma. Temperatures will recover into the 40s and 50s statewide with warmer temperatures expected on Tuesday.
National Weather Service snowfall reports show common 3 inches across much of central and northern Oklahoma. Higher amounts include 11 inches in Westville; 8 inches in Miami; and 7 inches in Braman, Muskogee, Ponca City, Pryor and Pawhuska.
Rain returns to the state on Wednesday when there is also a chance for thunderstorms. Even though Oklahoma just had a snowstorm, remember that severe weather season has already started.
The Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT) reports roads in western and south central Oklahoma are improving rapidly under increasingly sunny skies following a night of continued plowing and deicing of interstates and highways by ODOT crews.
Unnecessary travel is still discouraged in the eastern half of the state, where roads remain snow packed with drifts and slick spots, particularly in the northeast in Nowata, Craig, Rogers, Mayes and Delaware counties and in the southeast in Latimer, LeFlore, Pittsburg and McCurtain counties.
US-69 in southeastern Oklahoma is now clear, and a six-mile stretch of US-270 between Geary and Calumet in Canadian County was reopened this morning after snow drifts caused its closing overnight.
In central portions of the state north-south routes have had material applied to slick areas, but strong winds are creating drifts on east-west routes, causing some roads to narrow to one lane.
Motorists are strongly advised to check conditions before heading out, adjust their route as necessary and to allow additional travel time.
During snow and/or ice conditions, motorists are asked to:
- Be aware that conditions are continually changing; drive cautiously and for the conditions on the roadway.
- Check road conditions before getting out on the roads.
- 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," which looks wet on the roadway, but is actually a thin layer of ice.
- Please be patient, plan trips ahead and allow extra time to reach destinations.
Cedar Lake Fire Department continues to operate a travel rest center at the Rock of Restoration Church, 120 S. Walbaum, in Geary (I-40 at Exit #108). Twenty-one people stayed at the center Saturday night.
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.
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.