Office of Governor Brad Henry
State of Oklahoma
State Capitol – Oklahoma City OK 73105
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Feb. 19, 2010
Gov. Henry Requests Additional Federal Aid for January Ice Storm
(Oklahoma City) Gov. Brad Henry announced today that he has asked the White House for additional federal aid related to the January 28 ice storm.
The latest request seeks a public assistance major disaster declaration for 25 Oklahoma counties impacted by last month’s winter storm. Those counties include:
Alfalfa, Caddo, Cleveland, Comanche, Cotton, Delaware, Dewey, Ellis, Grady, Greer, Harmon, Haskell, Hughes, Jackson, Kiowa, LeFlore, McClain, Muskogee, Okmulgee, Pontotoc, Pottawatomie, Roger Mills, Seminole, Stephens and Washita.
The ice storm wreaked havoc across the state, particularly in southwestern Oklahoma, toppling trees and power lines and knocking out electricity for some 198,000 customers statewide. State and local governments incurred major costs responding to the storm and removing ice and other debris left in its wake.
Initial surveys show the 25 counties incurred more than $26 million in infrastructure damages and response costs. It is estimated that rural electric cooperatives sustained another $43 million in damages and these numbers are expected to increase as additional assessments are completed in other counties.
If granted, a public assistance disaster declaration would authorize federal funding to assist cities, towns and counties with infrastructure repairs and costs associated with their response to the January ice storm. Additional counties may be added to the public assistance disaster request as ongoing damage assessments are completed.
Officials are also gathering estimates to determine if the state has accrued enough damage to request individual disaster assistance.
Gov. Henry declared a state of emergency in Oklahoma on the eve of the Jan. 28 ice storm to help the state preposition assets necessary for response efforts. He later requested and the White House approved a federal disaster declaration that authorized federal resources such as food, water and generators to assist with the state response effort.
“I appreciate the White House’s speedy response to our earlier requests and hope they will act quickly on this one as well,” said Gov. Henry. “Many Oklahoma communities were devastated by the ice storm and will need federal aid as they try to recover and rebuild.”