Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management
Situation Update 1
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 7, 2011 – 5:00 p.m.
EOC ACTIVATED DUE TO STORMS
Due to the severe weather, the State Emergency Operations Center (EOC) is at Level Three activation, which involves extended operating hours for key personnel. The Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management (OEM) is in contact with local emergency managers in the affected areas.
Severe thunderstorms formed in western Oklahoma early this afternoon and have progressed eastward toward the central area of the state. One storm is located north of the Wildlife Mountain Refuge and is moving northeast at 35 mph. This storm has a history of producing tornadoes and conditions remain favorable for it to continue to do so during the next hour. If this storm continues it may approach the metro between 6 and 7 pm.
Storms will continue into the nighttime hours although the tornado threat will decrease by mid-evening. A line of storms is expected, with large hail and damaging winds the primary threats.
The Oklahoma Corporation Commission reports 17 homes and businesses in Tipton and 10 in Lawton are without power. All are PSO customers.
Kiowa County Emergency Management reports damage to one garage due to the storm.
Tillman County Emergency Management reports major damage to one home and damage to one dairy farm. The OSU Extension Building also sustained heavy damage.
National Weather Service confirms a tornado touchdown south of Tipton in Tillman County and hen egg size hail near Snyder in Kiowa County. Wind of up to 92 miles per hour has been reported at Burns Flat.
Keeping informed about the weather is the best way to avoid being caught in a tornado or severe thunderstorm. Your local National Weather Service Forecast Office provides information about dangerous weather in your area, and you should keep a close eye on this information whenever storms threaten your area. A battery operated NOAA Weather Radio with a warning alarm feature should be a part of your information system!
It’s also critical that you think about tornado safety long before there’s a storm on the horizon, and plan what you will do to stay safe no matter where you may be when storms threaten.
When a severe storm or tornado threatens, remember these basic guidelines:
GET IN - get as far inside a strong building as you can, away from doors and windows
GET DOWN - get to the lowest floor
COVER UP - use whatever you can to protect yourself from flying or falling debris
A reinforced underground storm shelter, storm cellar, enclosed basement or safe room are usually the safest places in a tornado. Underground shelters get you out of the way of flying and falling debris, which is a tornado’s most lethal weapon.
If you cannot get underground, remember the basic guidelines. Get as far inside the strongest building you can find. Stay away from doors, windows and other openings to the outside. Put as many walls between you and the outside as you can.
Get as low as you can. Go to the lowest floor of the building you’re in.
Cover up to protect yourself from flying and falling debris. Use whatever you can find - pillows, blankets, sleeping bags, mattresses. Wearing a helmet or hardhat will help protect your head from debris.
Being outdoors, in a mobile home, or in a vehicle are all unsafe in a tornado or severe thunderstorm. Find stronger shelter before the storm arrives and remember to get in, get down and cover up.
Follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/okem or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/OklahomaDepartmentofEmergencyManagement.