Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 1, 2007 -- Situation Update 3
EFFECTS OF WINTER STORM CONTINUE IN PANHANDLE
The State Emergency Operations Center (EOC) received the following reports related to the winter storm that moved through the Panhandle on Friday and Saturday. Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management (OEM) staff remains in contact with emergency managers in the affected areas.
A strong storm system moved slowly across southern New Mexico late Thursday into Friday. This produced widespread snowfall across parts of the Oklahoma Panhandle. Especially hard hit were Cimarron and Texas counties where upwards of 12 inches of snow fell in some areas. Rain, ice and winds in excess of 55 mph in some areas, also accompanied the weather system. The remainder of Oklahoma received rainfall of 1-2 inches in most areas and a few areas received up to 4 inches.
None reported at this time.
The Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives (OAEC) reports power has been restored to Boise City, Hardesty, Hooker, Texhoma, Tyrone, and Turpin. While electric service has been restored to these towns, there may be sporadic outages as ice begins to fall from transmission lines due to warming temperatures and reduced winds. Tri-County officials are now estimating at the height of the winter storm more than 20,000 consumers were without power. Original estimates identified about 7,000 without power. Current estimates show about 5,500 to 6,000 Tri-County customers remain without power, with the bulk of those outages being reported in rural areas.
Tri-County officials further estimate that there are at least 200 to 250 distribution poles that have been downed by the recent ice, snow and rain storms. In addition to crews sent by six other electric cooperatives from across Oklahoma, Tri-County has enlisted the help of four contract construction crews. Preliminary estimates show damages to the electric system will exceed $1 to $1.5 million at minimum. Officials have yet to be able to complete damage estimates in Cimarron County because some rural roadways are still closed due to blowing and drifting snow. Substantial progress is expected to be made today and tomorrow in repairing distribution lines throughout the Panhandle, as weather conditions are beginning to improve.
The Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT) reports winds have died down in the Panhandle and additional roads have opened. SH-56 is now open to Springer, New Mexico despite being slick and hazardous. US-287 north from Boise City remains closed at the request of Colorado transportation officials. In Cimarron County, SH-325 to Kenton is still closed but ODOT is working to clear. ODOT continues to work with eight road graders ("motor patrols") and 11 snow plow trucks, with staff rotations around the clock. For Oklahoma road conditions, call 888-425-2385. For road conditions in other affected states, call: Colorado 303-639-1111; Kansas 800-585-7623; New Mexico 800-432-4269; and Texas 800-452-9292.
ODOT, Oklahoma Highway Patrol, and OEM officials continue to assist in Guymon, Boise City and other affected areas of the Panhandle.
Shelters and Mass Feeding
Local officials are assessing shelter needs and will have further information later today.
Next situation update: As necessary.