Gov. Mary Fallin today declared a state of emergency for all 77 counties to prepare for a dangerous winter storm headed for Oklahoma.
Having emergency declaration in place will allow weight and size limits on state roads to be waived so heavy power company vehicles can be positioned across the state ahead of the storm, she said.
Blizzard conditions, heavy snow and ice are expected in the storm, which could result in power outages and hazardous driving condition.
“The winter storm heading toward Oklahoma has the potential to cause dangerous travel conditions and subfreezing temperatures,” Fallin said. “This disaster declaration will make sure we can prepare for the winter weather ahead of the storm.”
The declaration provides a formal mechanism for local governments to seek reimbursement for recovery costs through the state’s disaster public assistance program, should conditions warrant. The executive order is also the first step toward seeking federal aid should it be necessary.
Fallin also advised residents to prepare for the storm before it arrives this evening.
“Make sure you have the proper storm supplies in advance, such as flashlights, batteries, bottled water and nonperishable food,” Fallin said.
“If Oklahomans don’t have to get out tomorrow or tonight, please stay home,” she said. “Stay off the roads. Be safe.”
Albert Ashwood, director of the state Emergency Management Department, said the agency’s Emergency Operations Center, is activated. State officials are working with numerous local emergency management agencies to take steps to prepare for the storm.
A winter storm is on track to affect the state tonight through Wednesday. Widespread significant accumulations of snow and sleet are likely across central and eastern Oklahoma. Strong winds and bitterly cold temperatures the next few days will create dangerous travel and exposure conditions.
The Emergency Management Department last weekend obtained from the Federal Emergency Management Agency industrial-size generators along with bottled water, prepared meals, cots and blankets to be distributed to shelters to take care of stranded motorists or those affected by power outages, Ashwood said.
The generators also will be used to provide power to water treatment plants in the event electricity is disrupted, he said. The FEMA generators will support generators the Emergency Management Department already has positioned across the state, he said.