Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 19, 2007 – 4:45 p.m. Update #3
STORM DAMAGE REPORTS
The remnants of Tropical Depression Erin, which made landfall near Corpus Christi, Texas on Thursday, moved into Oklahoma early this morning. Widespread showers and thunderstorms occurred with this system, which caused it to intensify during the early morning hours. The result was widespread excessive rainfall across parts of west-central into central Oklahoma. For a period of time Erin had an “eye” feature common to tropical systems over water. Isolated wind damage also occurred in Blaine and Caddo Counties due to Erin. A flash flood watch continues for east-central Oklahoma until midnight.
The State Emergency Operations Center (EOC) remains activated and the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management (OEM) is in contact with emergency managers in the affected areas.
Injuries and Fatalities
The Oklahoma Medical Examiner’s Office confirms two disaster-related fatalities. A man in his 50s was found dead this morning 14 miles west of Kingfisher. According to Kingfisher County Emergency Management, the man drowned after attempting to vacate his vehicle in fast moving water. A Fort Cobb woman in her 80s was discovered in her storm cellar this morning. She had drowned in the cellar after taking shelter from the severe weather.
Two Watonga residents were injured after their home was destroyed by straight line winds or a possible tornado. The two were treated for reportedly non-life threatening injuries at the hospital in Watonga.
Response/Recovery Work Continues
The Oklahoma Highway Patrol has deployed Mobile Command Post One to Kingfisher along with a Quick Response Vehicle designed to provide immediate communications assistance. Two OHP helicopters and one airplane continue to assist in the area. About 22 OHP personnel are assisting in the Kingfisher area. Other OHP personnel are assisting in Fort Cobb. Numerous local departments are also providing mutual aid in the Kingfisher area, including fire departments from Dover, Edmond and Piedmont. In Kingfisher, officials have recovered all known stranded residents and are in the process of going door to door, making contact with all citizens to inquire about their health and welfare.
OEM has personnel in the field assisting local emergency managers with preliminary damage assessments (PDAs) in Comanche, Caddo, Kingfisher and Blaine counties. Additional PDAs are expected to take place tomorrow. OEM also provided two generators in Watonga to keep water treatment plants on-line in the community which is without electric service. To Geary OEM dispatched Oklahoma National Guard water trailers for the community which is without water.
Officials with the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality continue to investigate a possible release of a petroleum product in Kingfisher.
The Oklahoma Corporation Commission reports about 19,096 homes and businesses are without power across the state. About 13,651 OG&E customers are without power and of that number 13,422 are within the Oklahoma City metro area. About 4,945 AEP/PSO customers are without electric service and of that number, 3,385 are within the Tulsa metro area and 1,560 are within the Lawton area. Additionally, about 500 Cimarron Electric Cooperative customers are without power primarily in rural Watonga and Fay areas, according to the Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives.
The American Red Cross has opened the following shelters to assist those displaced by the storms:
- Chickasha – Chickasha High School
- El Reno – Sacred Heart Church in the 200 block of South Evans
- Fort Cobb – Caddo-Kiowa Technology Center on Career Tech Road
- Kingfisher – Kingfisher County Fairgrounds
- Moore – Community Center
- Watonga – First Baptist Church is a shelter; Saint Rose Catholic Church is a feeding and comfort center
Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT) reports numerous roads and highways are closed due to high water. Motorists are urged to obey road closing signs and barricades. 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.