Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 9, 2007 – 4 a.m. Update #7
STORM DAMAGE REPORTS
The Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management (OEM) continues to receive damage reports related to the flooding, severe storms and tornadoes that have moved through the state since Friday. The State Emergency Operations Center remains activated to assist local officials as many areas of Oklahoma continue to be impacted by the severe weather.
Severe thunderstorms, tornadoes and flash flooding occurred Tuesday evening and early this morning. Local emergency managers report tornadoes touched down just west of Lawton near US-62, north of Faxon and in El Reno.
Additionally, heavy rains have brought more flooding to many areas of the state. In Cache, Indiahoma and the Wichita Mountain Estates local officials evacuated 37 residents via boats and jet skis due to high water. In Apache, six families were evacuated due to flooding after storms moved through leaving the Caddo County town of 1,616 without power.
Gov. Brad Henry’s State of Emergency declaration for all 77 Oklahoma counties remains in effect. The declaration reiterates the availability of all state resources to Oklahoma cities, towns and counties. It provides a formal mechanism for local governments to seek reimbursement for recovery costs through the state’s disaster public assistance program should conditions warrant. The declaration also serves as a prelude to a federal disaster request, should one be necessary.
OEM worked with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to secure sandbags for the City of Bixby’s downtown district because the city’s floodwater pump is not working.
Two Oklahoma National Guard water trailers remain in Ralston to provide potable water to the Pawnee County community of 400. The trailers were delivered Monday after flooding caused a water main break. Guard personnel will refill the trailers as necessary. Additional bottled water is being provided by the Stillwater Wal-Mart store.
Injuries and Fatalities
One fatality and one minor injury are attributed to the severe weather.
The Oklahoma Medical Examiner reports a Canute man drown Sunday night following a one-vehicle accident. The man was driving along a county road two miles west and two miles north of Canute when his car was swept off the roadway due to high water during a thunderstorm, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol (OHP) reports.
One minor injury was reported in Sweetwater due to the Saturday evening tornado however, the resident declined medical treatment.
OG&E reports 586 customers without power – 534 are in the El Reno area.
Great Plains Chapter of the American Red Cross has activated two shelters for flood victims, individuals without power, and special needs individuals. The locations of the shelters are Elgin First Baptist Church, 420 ‘I’ St in Elgin, and Cameron Baptist Church in Lawton. At this time no one has reported to these shelters. Red Cross is advising they will keep the shelters operable due to rain in the forecast for Wednesday. Red Cross officials continue to monitor other locations across the state with a history of flooding and stand ready to open shelters if necessary.
Motorists are urged to avoid driving into high water. It only takes a minimal amount of moving water for cars to be swept away and there may be unseen damage to the road. Motorists who encounter flooded roads should turn around and find an alternate route. Flash floods are the number one cause of weather-related deaths in the nation.
The Oklahoma Highway Patrol (OHP) reports Interstate 40 is now reopened in both directions in Canadian County. Traffic was diverted from I-40 early this morning due to overturned semi tractor trailer trucks.
The Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT) reports the following road conditions.
SH-102 near SH-59B at the Little River in Pottawatomie County is closed.
US-60 in Washington County near Bartlesville is closed.
SH-10 at the Verdigris River near the Craig/Nowata County line is closed.
SH-11 at 112th Street North in Tulsa is closed.
ODOT officials are monitoring conditions on SH-6 north of Granite in Greer County and SH-80 near Ft. Gibson in Cherokee County.
The following reports were received related to the severe weather that occurred Tuesday and today.
Caddo County Emergency Management reports Apache received about 3.5 inches of rain in an hour Tuesday night. The town was without power for about 3 hours. Officials suspect the power outage was caused by a lighting strike. The six families that were evacuated due to flood waters were taken to the Apache Nutrition Center.
Comanche County Emergency Management reports officials with the sheriff’s department, numerous volunteer fire departments, and other volunteers conducted about 17 water rescues Tuesday night and this morning in and near Wichita Mountain Estates, Cache, and Indiahoma after heavy rains caused flash flooding. The floodwaters have begun to recede, however, the possibility of rain on Wednesday could cause additional flooding.
El Reno Emergency Management reports a tornado hit the south central part of the city early this morning. Power lines and trees were downed by the storm. Damage assessments are on-going.
Kingfisher City/County Emergency Management reports concerns regarding Cimarron River and Kingfisher Creek levels and the threat of additional rain prompted local officials to begin going door to door to alert residents of the possibility of flooding by morning.