Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 2, 2007 -- Situation Update 5
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.
Warmer weather, continued power restoration efforts and better road conditions today gave way to an improved situation in areas of the Panhandle impacted by last week's winter storm. Especially hard hit were Cimarron and Texas counties where more than 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.
None reported at this time.
Oklahoma National Guard personnel this morning joined local officials in completing welfare checks on residents in isolated communities and rural areas in Cimarron County. Teams traveling in Humvees began their work with sweeps in the Kenton and Wheeless areas. The welfare checks were warranted after OEM and local officials received numerous calls from individuals in Oklahoma and other states that were unable to contact loved ones in some areas of the Panhandle. The 13 National Guard personnel are from the Enid area.
OEM, Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT) and Oklahoma Highway Patrol (OHP) personnel continue to assist with response, recovery efforts in Texas and Cimarron counties.
Additionally, the state has sent an Oklahoma National Guard Chinook helicopter and crew of four to assist with hay drops for stranded cattle in Colorado, which was impacted by the same winter storm that hit the Panhandle. The State of Colorado requested the helicopter and crew under the Emergency Management Assistance Compact, which is a mutual aid agreement between states. The Guard personnel left from Lexington this morning and are working out of Pueblo, Colorado.
The Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives (OAEC) reports about 3,500 Tri-County Electric Cooperative customers remain without power. Power was returned to Optima and most feed lots and packing plants have also seen their power restored. Power outages continue in Kenton and Adams as well as many rural areas. If current weather conditions hold, most will have power returned by Thursday, OAEC reports. In addition to crews sent by six other electric cooperatives from across Oklahoma(38 personnel), Tri-County has enlisted the help of four contract construction crews. Additionally, OAEC has dispatched crews from eight Oklahoma cooperatives (40 personnel) to assist with power restoration efforts in Kansas, also hard hit by last week's winter storm.
Phone outage reports continue in the Kenton area.
The Oklahoma Department of Transportation reports all highways in Cimarron County are open however, they remain slick. US-287 is now open north of Boise City and into Colorado. US-56 is open to I-25 at Springer, NM. Hopefully, today's sunshine, coupled with temperatures expected near 40 degrees, will help the situation. Boise City has one crew still working. Guymon and Buffalo crews are on standby. 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.
Shelters and Mass Feeding
A shelter continues to operate at the Fairgrounds Building in Boise City. The Texas County Activity Center in Guymon is now only being used for staging of supplies, equipment and personnel.
Next situation update: As necessary.