Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 1, 2007 – 4:30 p.m. Update #10
A weak low pressure system was centered over Pawnee County this afternoon. Showers and thunderstorms have developed near this low and across eastern Oklahoma. Excessive rainfall is likely with this activity and may lead to flash flooding.
This low pressure area is forecast to drift southwest into central Oklahoma later today and into southwest Oklahoma on Monday. A flash flood watch continues through Tuesday morning for central, and parts of western and eastern Oklahoma.
The Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management (OEM) continues to receive damage reports from counties, cities and towns impacted by storms and flooding. OEM remains in contact with emergency managers in the affected areas.
Injuries and Fatalities
On June 18, three people sustained minor injuries when their pickup washed down a creek in Pontotoc County. All three were rescued: two were treated at the scene; one was transported to a nearby hospital. No additional injuries reported.
No storm related power outages reported at this time.
The American Red Cross is operating shelters to help those displaced by flooding at the following locations:
Bartlesville – Highland Park Baptist Church
Dewey – Dewey Elementary School
The Salvation Army is providing feeding services for shelters and responders in Bartlesville and Dewey.
Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT) and Oklahoma Highway Patrol (OHP) officials advise motorists to use caution as they drive on Oklahoma roadways. Though roads may remain open, motorists are encouraged to find alternate routes if the road appears flooded. Motorists should drive for the conditions by slowing down and avoiding driving into any high water situations.
All 77 Oklahoma counties remain under a State of Emergency. The executive order issued by Gov. Brad Henry in May serves as a formal mechanism for local governments to seek reimbursement for recovery costs through the state’s public assistance program as conditions warrant.
Preliminary damage assessments (PDAs) for potential individual assistance will begin in Pottawatomie County on Monday. Joint teams representing OEM, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Small Business Administration will join Shawnee/Pottawatomie County Emergency Management officials in examining the damage to homes and businesses, primarily in Shawnee and Tecumseh. Residents and business owners who sustained uninsured or under-insured property damage are urged to report the damage information to their local emergency manager. Additional PDAs will be conducted in other areas of the state as damage reports are received. OEM, FEMA and local officials continue to assess infrastructure damage caused by the flooding. The PDAs are needed to gauge whether damages meet the criteria to qualify for disaster assistance.
Oklahoma Military Department water trailers remain in Ralston to provide potable water to the Pawnee County community of 355. On Friday, a water main break left the town in need of water.
OEM and OHP are assisting with response efforts at the Bartlesville/Washington County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) in Bartlesville.
A federal disaster declaration remains in effect for 17 Oklahoma counties to provide public assistance related to the severe storms, flooding and tornadoes that occurred in the state May 4-11. The 17 counties that qualified for public assistance are: Atoka, Beckham, Blaine, Caddo, Comanche, Dewey, Ellis, Greer, Kay, Kiowa, Lincoln, Noble, Nowata, Okfuskee, Pottawatomie, Roger Mills and Seminole.
Local Damage Reports
Bartlesville/Washington County Emergency Management reports local officials continue to prepare as Caney River continues to rise in Bartlesville. The river is at 16 feet and flood stage is 13 feet. It is expected to crest late today near 22.8 feet and officials project the crest may be sustained for several days. In two separate incidents five people were rescued from high water conditions. The first was at 2 a.m. today when three people were forced from their home by rapidly rising water. They were able to make it to a bridge near their driveway where rescue boats picked them up about an hour later. The other occurred at 1 p.m. when a husband and wife had to be rescued from their rural home by the Dewey Fire Department using a “military 6x6” (large military truck). Local American Red Cross officials have established shelters in Bartlesville at Highland Park Baptist Church and in Dewey at Dewey Elementary School. Salvation Army will be providing feeding services for shelters and responders. A briefing this morning at the EOC included representatives from all area law enforcement, fire departments, county emergency management, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, city managers of Bartlesville and Dewey, OHP, OEM, American Red Cross, as well as public and private utilities. The briefing covered contingency planning, resource management and allocation, staging of resources, and updated information on expected flood levels. U.S. Army Corps of Engineer officials are closely coordinating with local officials to minimize the impact of the flood waters as much as possible but heavy rainfalls over the past couple of weeks coupled with continued rain in the forecast, means flooding of some structures is imminent. The public is urged to monitor local media for additional information and updates or they may contact the Reservoir Information Control Center at (918) 669-7512.
Comanche County Emergency Management reports Lawton residents have been allowed to return to their homes in Garden Village and Turtle Creek. Officials report some homes sustained flood damage. They will have a better idea of the impact after floodwaters retreat overnight and initial damage surveys are completed tomorrow.
Durant/Bryan County Emergency Management reports the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has revised the projection for Lake Texoma flooding. The lake is now expected to crest at 640 feet on Friday (July 6) or earlier if additional rainfall is received. Water goes over the spillway at 640 feet. Local officials remain concerned regarding the situation. Lake Texoma has only gone over the spillway twice; once in 1957 and once in 1990 and both times resulted in major flooding downstream. Local officials will continue to work with Corps of Engineer officials to ensure as much lead time as possible for warning. All boat ramps inside Texoma State Park are closed. The area has seen some vandalism of signs, barricades and cones. Park rangers have been instructed to issue citations to all individuals removing or tampering with traffic safety control devices.
Jefferson County Emergency Management reports officials with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers advised there is no longer an immediate threat to Waurika. The EOC is standing down at this time.
Walters Emergency Management reports the situation there has stabilized. East Cache Creek levels continue to recede. No shelters are open at this.