Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Situation Update 24
January 18, 2007 -- 9 p.m.
STATE/FEDERAL ICE STORM RESPONSE CONTINUES
The State Emergency Operations Center (EOC) remains activated due to winter weather conditions that continue to impact areas of Oklahoma. The Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management (OEM) is in contact with emergency managers in the affected areas and has received the following reports.
Injuries and Fatalities
Since the winter weather system first impacted the state Friday morning, 15 people have died on Oklahoma roads, according to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.
Oklahoma Highway Patrol collision report: 492 non-injury collisions, 171 personal injury collisions, and 9 fatal collisions (total is number of collisions, not number of casualties).
2,499 people have been treated at Oklahoma hospitals for various injuries related to current weather conditions, according to the Oklahoma State Department of Health.
State and Federal Assistance
FEMA officials are assisting the state in coordinating disaster relief efforts for the purpose of alleviating the hardship and suffering caused by the ice storm. FEMA is working with the state to identify, mobilize, and provide equipment and resources necessary to alleviate the impacts of the ice storm.
Generators have been delivered to several locations in eastern Oklahoma including McIntosh, Pittsburg, Mayes, Muskogee and other counties. Water treatment plants and shelters were the first to receive the generators so public water systems could continue to operate and shelters could provide a safe place for residents. An additional 100 generators and a large supply of bottled water was delivered by FEMA to a staging area in McAlester. Five water buffaloes have been delivered to Jay and Eufaula. The generators are being delivered to communities throughout Oklahoma that serve the public such as public water services, shelters, police and fire departments and organizations supporting shelters.
Please note: These generators are not available to individuals. Water will be delivered through community shelters.
To assure continued medical services in those areas of the state hardest hit by the weekend's ice storm, the Oklahoma State Department of Health has activated the Medical Reserve Corps. Public health nurses have been dispatched to American Red Cross shelters for medical assessments and to various hospitals for Emergency Support Functions. Public health services will provide relief to rural ambulance crews that have been working non-stop since Friday.
The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) is warning Oklahomans who may seek alternative power or fuel sources such as generators, grills, camp stoves or other gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal-burning devices that these should never be used inside a home, garage, or camper -- or even outside near an open window. The use of these alternative fuel or electricity sources can cause carbon monoxide to build up and poison people and animals inside. Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas found in combustion fumes and can cause sudden illness and death.
In addition to OEM, the Oklahoma Military Department, Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry, Oklahoma Department of Transportation, Oklahoma State Department of Health, Oklahoma Turnpike Authority, Oklahoma Highway Patrol, Oklahoma Corporation Commission, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, FEMA, Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives, OG&E, American Red Cross and The Salvation Army are represented in the State EOC.
The Oklahoma Corporation Commission reports statewide, about 57,579 electric customers are without power.
PSO reports 13,966 customers are without power throughout the state. Highest PSO outages are reported in McAlester, where 9,784 are without power, in Chouteau 1,851, and in Vinita 1,184. Other communities experiencing power outages are Atoka, Grove, and Wilburton.
OG&E reports 8,867 customers are without power. The largest OG&E outages are in Muskogee where 5,468 are without power and in Checotah, where 2,020, and in Eufaula where 980, are without electricity. Other outages are reported in Haskell, Porum, Taft and Warner.
Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives reports 33,745 electric cooperative customers are without power. OAEC reports more than 2,465 utility poles are down in the cooperative service area. Approximately 55 - 60 transmission structures are damaged.
Below is a list of electric cooperatives, the location of their office and the number of power outages.
Canadian Valley (Seminole) - 800
Cookson Hills Electric Cooperative (Stigler) - 1,450
East Central Oklahoma Electric Cooperative (Okmulgee) - 8,086
Kiamichi Electric Cooperative (Wilburton) - 3,187
Lake Region Electric Cooperative (Hulbert) - 6,050
Northeast Oklahoma Electric Cooperative (Vinita) - 11,932
People's Electric Cooperative (Ada) - 2,200
Southeastern Electric Cooperative (Durant) - 20
Pryor Municipal Utility Board - 1,000
Empire Electric which serves the far northeast corner of Oklahoma reports 1 customer without power in Quapaw and Commerce.
Shelters and Mass Care
American Red Cross is operating shelters in the following locations:
Calvin – First Pent of God
Checotah – Multi-purpose Building, Checotah Center 2
Durant – Bryan County Community Center
Eufaula – Senior Citizen Center
Grove – Grove Civic Center
Jay – Assembly of God, Fire station
Kansas – NE Vo-tech School
Langley – First Christian Church
Locust Grove – Fire Department, Senior nursing home
McAlester – First Baptist Church, First Pentecostal of God Church, Stipe Center
Muskogee – Muskogee Recreation Center and Bacone College, United Methodist Church
Pryor – Grand Memorial Auditorium, Methodist Church at Rowe and Main
Stigler – Twin Lakes Motel
Tahlequah – First United Methodist Church Activities Building
Wagoner – Community Center
Warner – Assembly of God, Fire Department
Wyandotte – Wyandotte/Ashton Community Service Center
American Red Cross and local officials are prepared to open additional shelters if weather conditions and power outages warrant.
The Salvation Army reports all permanent shelters are still open and accepting clients in Lawton, Tulsa, Oklahoma City, Ardmore, Enid, Muskogee, Norman, and Ponca City. Shelters in Lawton, Tulsa, Oklahoma City, and as far north as Enid continue to see additional clients due to weather related issues. They are serving meals at the shelters and providing meals to go. The Salvation Army has established feeding sites in Pryor to support Pryor, Langley, and Locust Grove and Jay to support Jay and Grove. Another site was established in West Siloam Springs to support their community as well as Kansas, Oklahoma. The Salvation Army is supporting eight American Red Cross shelters with feeding. Additionally, they are providing additional meals in the Jay area for homebound persons. In Pryor, they are also providing meals for emergency responders and other emergency management personnel as well.
The Southern Baptist Men's Disaster Response continues to prepare meals for many of the shelters. Their large-capacity feeding unit, which feeds up to 15,000 meals, is in McAlester. A second feeding is staged in Muskogee to accommodate shelters in that area.
The Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma, located in Oklahoma City, and the Tulsa Food Bank continue to provide food for shelter preparation.
ODOT and OHP continue to discourage unnecessary travel as some highways and interstates remain slick and hazardous and others have black ice. ODOT crews have been out in some parts of the state since early Friday morning and are making good progress in clearing roadways as they continue to plow and apply salt and sand. They have worked around the clock and will continue to do so until everything is cleared. Motorists should remain cautious while driving and as night falls, be wary of black ice which is a thin layer of ice that appears as wet pavement. Drivers should also be aware of additional hazards of sagging and downed power lines and tree branches. ODOT reports SH-31 west of McAlester in Pittsburg County remains closed due to debris on highway.
For information regarding Oklahoma roads, call 888-425-2385. For road conditions in neighboring states call: Texas, 800-452-9292; Kansas, 886-511-5368; Arkansas, 800-245-1672; and Missouri, 800-222-6400.
Temperatures will be cold again tonight, however much of the state will rise above the freezing mark Thursday afternoon. Additional winter precipitation is expected this weekend and a Winter Storm Watch has been issued for all of western and central Oklahoma.
Anyone who suspects price gouging is urged to contact the Oklahoma Attorney General's Consumer Protection Unit at 405-521-2029. On Sunday, Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson announced Oklahoma's price gouging statute is in effect in all 77 Oklahoma counties after Gov. Brad Henry on Friday declared a state of emergency for the entire state. The price gouging statute prohibits an increase of more than 10 percent in the price of most goods and services when a state of emergency has been declared. Edmondson said investigators will look into any price gouging reports his office receives.
The State EOC continues to utilize the 2-1-1 system as a resource for non-emergency disaster information services. 2-1-1 is the number to call for access to non-emergency health, human service, and disaster related information. Just dial "2-1-1" from any phone in 36 Oklahoma Counties (see the lists below where 2-1-1 is available). Phones are answered 24/7/365. If you are calling from a rotary dial telephone or large phone system, such as PBX, please access 2-1-1 services through the 10-digit telephone numbers listed below. In counties where 2-1-1 is not available, residents should contact local emergency management officials or the American Red Cross for assistance.
Tulsa 2-1-1 Helpline (918-836-4357)
Creek, Okmulgee, Osage, Rogers, Tulsa, Wagoner
HeartLine 2-1-1, Central Oklahoma (405-286-4057)
Canadian, Cleveland, Grady, Kingfisher, Lincoln, Logan, McClain, Oklahoma, Pottawatomie
2-1-1 of Southeastern Oklahoma (580-332-0558)
Atoka, Bryan, Carter, Choctaw, Coal, Garvin, Haskell, Hughes, Jefferson, Johnston, Latimer, LeFlore, Love, Marshall, McCurtain, Murray, Pittsburg, Pontotoc, Pushmataha, Seminole, Stephens
For assistance in Comanche County, please call Helpline (580-355-7575) - note that 2-1-1 is not active in Comanche County at this time.
- Since the storm began on Friday, 2-1-1 Call Centers in Oklahoma have remained steady in taking calls regarding Disaster Assistance. The call volumes have spiked in the Pittsburg County area.
- Approximately 1/3 of all 2-1-1 calls are residents requesting disaster related information and assistance.
- 1,240 Disaster-Related calls have come into the 2-1-1 Call Centers covering 37 counties, 240 from Pittsburg County.
- 2-1-1 Call Centers continue to take other basic needs calls in addition to the calls seeking weather related assistance.
- Callers in the hardest hit areas are seeking: Generators, water, firewood, information on tree limb removal, emergency food, downed power lines, sanitary conditions of lake water, and shelters.
- All 2-1-1 Call Centers are working closely with American Red Cross, Salvation Army, faith-based organizations, utility companies, local police/fire/medical, and local emergency management.
- In some areas, residents without power who are medically vulnerable have been unable to reach 911, so they are calling 2-1-1 to get access to local police departments.