WINTER STORM IMPACTING STATE
Due to the latest winter storm to impact Oklahoma, the State Emergency Operations Center (EOC) remains activated. Agencies and organizations represented at the State EOC include the Oklahoma Military Department, Oklahoma Highway Patrol, Oklahoma Department of Transportation, Oklahoma State Department of Health, Oklahoma Office of Homeland Security, Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry, Salvation Army, American Red Cross and other disaster relief agencies.
STATE OF EMERGENCY
At the request of Governor Mary Fallin, Lieutenant Governor Todd Lamb today declared a State of Emergency for 56 Oklahoma counties due to the winter storm, excessive snow, and severe weather affecting many areas of the state. The Executive Order allows state agencies to make emergency purchases related to disaster relief and preparedness. It is also a first step toward seeking federal assistance should it be necessary.
Oklahoma Department of Transportation reports, due to blizzard conditions, all highways in the northwestern Oklahoma counties of Cimarron, Beaver, Texas, Harper, Ellis, and Woodward are closed until further notice. The whiteout conditions have been periodically halting road clearing efforts. Crews are out in Woods, Alfalfa and Major counties, reporting slick and hazardous roadways while treating roads and plowing as needed.
In western Oklahoma, there are reports of slick and hazardous roadways, and whiteout conditions are reported in Blaine and Beckham counties. Crews are sanding and salting areas and clearing roadways as needed. Drivers in these areas are encouraged to check weather conditions before heading out and to allow extra time getting to a destination should travel be necessary.
The Oklahoma Highway Patrol (OHP) is urging motorists to avoid travel in all impacted areas. OHP has responded to 32 non-injury collisions and 5 injury collisions due to the weather.
For information regarding Oklahoma road conditions, call (405) 425-2385 or go to www.dps.state.ok.us.
The Salvation Army reports they are prepared to assist with any necessary mass care operations. Additionally, all Salvation Army centers are ready to accommodate the increased number of clients expected to seek shelter.
The American Red Cross has prepositioned supplies throughout the state in order to open shelters in the event there are mass power outages and/or stranded travelers. Transportation to such facilities may present some challenges due to expected road conditions. The American Red Cross is encouraging the public to shelter in place if possible.
An American Red Cross Shelter is open at Church of Christ, 424 Avenue E in Beaver.
The Oklahoma Corporation Commission reports approximately 11,800 power outages related to the storm.
PSO reports 12,276 customers without power. The largest service disruptions are in the Elk City area (5,580 outages) and the Weatherford, Thomas area (4,045 outages).
OG&E reports 4,459 without service statewide, including 485 in Canton, 1,184 in Enid, and 646 in Seiling.
Oklahoma State Department of Health reports 130 cots were requested by Presbyterian Hospital and Saint Anthony’s Hospital for staff that will be staying overnight.
Numerous schools and businesses were closed today and many will remain closed tomorrow due to the snow and dangerous road conditions.
City of Woodward/Woodward County Office of Emergency Management reports that numerous rescues are being attempted at this time. Snow totals range from 12 to 15 inches with drifts exceeding 6 foot in areas. Blizzard conditions persist throughout the area.
Thomas Emergency Management reports the City of Thomas is without power after receiving up to 12 inches of snow. Snow continues to fall in this area.
Garfield County/Enid Emergency Management reports they have received approximately 2.5 inches of snow but they are anticipating more snow throughout the evening. The winds are the major factor for Garfield County at this time. The low pressure system that is causing all of this is over southeast Oklahoma right now and slowly starting to lift northeastward slowly.
For Oklahoma residents seeking non-emergency disaster or health and human service information, please contact your local 2-1-1. Services are available 24 hours a day by dialing 2-1-1 from your home or cellular telephone. Please only call 911 for emergencies.