Winter Storm Situation Update 4
Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management
Situation Update 4
February 2, 2011 – 4:30 p.m.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Michelann Ooten, Public Information Officer
WINTER STORM RESPONSE CONTINUES
Due to the winter storm, 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. Agencies and organizations represented at the State EOC include the: Salvation Army, Oklahoma Military Department, Oklahoma State Department of Health, American Red Cross, Oklahoma Department of Human Services, Oklahoma Highway Patrol, Oklahoma Corporation Commission and the Oklahoma Department of Transportation.
Gov. Mary Fallin today asked the White House to approve an emergency disaster declaration request for all 77 Oklahoma counties due to the severe winter storm. If approved, state and local governments will receive reimbursement for expenses associated with responding to the storm. Eligible expenses could include personnel overtime costs as well as costs associated with operating shelters and clearing snow and ice covered roads. Once damage assessment teams can survey the impacted area, additional federal assistance may be requested to aid local and state government recovery efforts.
Oklahoma remains under a State of Emergency, as declared by Gov. Fallin on Monday. 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.
All state offices in Canadian, Cleveland, Garfield, Lincoln, Logan, McClain, Oklahoma and Pottawatomie counties were closed today. Numerous schools and businesses throughout the state were also closed today due to the hazardous road conditions.
FATALITIES AND INJURIES
One fatality is attributed to the winter storm, according to the Oklahoma Office of the State Medical Examiner. A 20-year-old Moore woman died Tuesday following a sledding accident. Cause of death was multiple blunt force trauma to the head.
The Oklahoma Highway Patrol reports troopers have worked 81 storm related crashes, including 7 involving injury since the storm began. OHP also responded to 278 motorist assist calls. The Oklahoma State Department of Health reports 77 falls, 4 carbon monoxide poisonings, 24 transportation related accidents, two exposure cases, 13 cut/pierce injuries and 5 injuries involving a person struck by or against an object related to the storm.
Bitterly cold temperatures will continue through Friday across the State. Overnight temperatures will reach zero degrees and below across a large portion of the state. A warming trend should start on Saturday but will be brief as more snow is expected on Monday. Currently amounts are expected to be light with limited significant impact expected. On Tuesday, a daily maximum snowfall record was set in Tulsa where 13.2 inches of snow was reported, according to the National Weather Service.
The Oklahoma Highway Patrol continues to discourage travel statewide, reporting that SH-15 from SH-74 east to Billings, SH-164 from SH-74 south of Covington east toward Perry, and SH-152 from Mustang to Union City remain closed due to drifting snow. The Creek Turnpike from US-412 to US-169 and the Will Rogers Turnpike westbound lanes also remain closed. In far northeast Oklahoma all state highways, county roads and most municipal streets reported as impassable. Numerous vehicles are in ditches and several vehicles remain stuck in roadways. The Turner Turnpike westbound from Tulsa to Stroud is now open, but still extremely dangerous. The Muskogee Turnpike and H.E. Bailey Turnpikes are now open, but still slick and hazardous.
Roads remain slick and hazardous in central, northeastern and southeastern regions of the state. Roads in western and southwestern parts of the state are slick in spots.
The Oklahoma National Guard continues to assist motorists stranded on the turnpikes. Since Tuesday, they have rescued 144 passengers from 86 vehicles.
Oklahoma Department of Transportation crews continue to work around the clock to clear roadways. If Oklahomans must travel they are reminded to stay at least 200 feet behind road-clearing equipment.
Additionally, 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 icy conditions.
-- Be aware of "black ice," which looks wet on the roadway, but is actually a thin layer of ice.
For information regarding Oklahoma road conditions, call 888-425-2385. For the latest conditions on Oklahoma Turnpikes, call 1-877-403-7623. For road conditions in neighboring states call: Texas, 800-452-9292; Kansas, 866-511-5368; Arkansas, 800-245-1672; Colorado 303-639-1111; New Mexico 800-432-4269; and Missouri, 800-222-6400.
OKLAHOMANS SHOULD CONTINUE TO USE CAUTION ON THE ROADS
If travel is unavoidable, make sure you let someone know where you are going and the route you are taking and be sure to have the following items with you in your vehicle.
• A cell phone with charger and a battery powered radio.
• Windshield scraper, deicer, snow shovel and small broom for ice and snow removal.
• Several blankets or sleeping bags.
• Rain gear, warm coats and extra sets of dry clothing, mittens, socks and a cap.
• Non-perishable snacks like dried fruit, nuts and other high energy “munchies.”
• Several bottles of water. Eating snow will lower your body temperature so melt it first.
• Sand or cat litter for generating traction under wheels and a set of tire chains.
• Jumper cables, flashlight with extra batteries, first aid kit and brightly colored cloth to tie to antenna if you get stranded.
The Salvation Army and The American Red Cross continue to assist with sheltering, feeding and warming center needs across the state. Tuesday night 92 people stayed at the 11 centers that were open.
Lawton – Salvation Army 1306 SW E Ave
Miami – First Christian Church, 2424 N. Main
Vinita – Family Praise Center, 330 W. Dwain Willis Ave
Open Warming Stations:
Blanchard – Pioneer Building, Hwy 62 and Main St
Tishomingo – Church of the Nazarene, 300 S Muldrow
Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma City has re-opened to commercial operations.
Even though the airport is open, flight delays and cancellations are still expected as airlines deal with weather-impacted airports across the country.
Tulsa International Airport opened the airfield at noon today to allow airlines to resume flight operations. However, all airlines remained unsure when they would resume their full flight schedules.
Airports continue to recommend that travelers check with the airlines for the status of flights. Travelers need to contact the airline’s reservations number or website.
Airline Contact Information:
o American Airlines – www.aa.com (800) 433-7300
o Continental Airlines – www.continental.com (800) 525-0280
o Delta Connection – www.delta.com (800) 221-1212
o Southwest Airlines – www.southwest.com (800) 435-9792
o United Airlines – www.united.com (800) 241-6522
Today the industrial-size generators OEM secured from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) were transported to Ohio where the same winter storm is expected to deliver power outages. OEM secured the generators along with bottled water, MREs (meals ready to eat), cots and blankets as the storm was approaching.
The Oklahoma Corporation Commission reports about 100 homes and businesses are without electric service due to the storm, including 67 OG&E customers in Norman and 33 PSO customers in Tulsa.
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.
The Oklahoma State Department of Health reminds all citizens to remain at home today. Emergency medical personnel are out in force across the state ensuring disaster related emergencies are being handled. Many citizens may feel a need to get out of the house or send the kids out to play in the snow. Please use caution if venturing outside your homes. Remember to take along a cell phone, dress in layers and ensure all areas of exposed skin are protected against the elements. Many county health departments are closed due to the inclement weather. Oklahoma City EMSA reported 232 calls with 148 transports in a 24-hour period. EMSA Tulsa reported delivering a baby while transporting the mother to a local hospital. Across the state hospitals report 77 falls, 4 carbon monoxide poisonings, 24 transportation related accidents, two exposure cases, 13 cut/pierce injuries and 5 injuries involving a person struck by or against an object.
Enid/Garfield County Emergency Management reports that city and county road crews continue clearing streets and major arteries. City crews are now working their way into the residential areas after clearing the downtown Enid Streets. The schools remain closed because of the road conditions and Garfield County Court House opened today at 10 am. City of Enid offices are also open. Most residents are heeding our warnings about staying home unless it is absolutely necessary. Minimal accidents have been reported. Salvation Army is at capacity at their location for housing people and some of our feeding locations are staying open longer to make sure people are fed and warm. All emergency services are on standby.
Oklahoma City Emergency Management reports several closings for today due to hazardous road conditions including Oklahoma City offices, OKC Public Schools, OKC Animal Shelter, OKC Parks and Recreation and the OKC Metro Transit System. Full scale plowing operations continue using city crews and contractors.
Shawnee Emergency Management reports that Pottawatomie County Courthouse is closed and that all Pottawatomie County roads remain hazardous. There are stalled cars on roadways, making clearance difficult. Shawnee street crews continue to work major roads. Most major streets have at least one lane open in both directions. Secondary streets remain snow packed and treacherous. They continue to urge people to stay off the roads unless it is an absolute emergency.
For Oklahoma residents seeking non-emergency disaster or 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.
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Next Situation Update: As conditions warrant