The following is the evening situation update from OEM – my office – to say the least, we're in record territory.
Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Situation Update 6
12-10-07, 4:30 p.m.
WINTER STORM CONTINUES TO IMPACT STATE
Twelve fatalities reported; Power outages top 500,000
A State of Emergency remains in effect for all 77 Oklahoma counties. The declaration provides a formal mechanism for local governments to seek reimbursement for recovery costs through the state�s disaster public assistance program if conditions warrant. The State Emergency Operations Center (EOC) remains activated and the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management (OEM) is in contact with emergency managers in the affected areas.
Oklahoma is also awaiting word on a request to President George Bush for an emergency declaration covering all 77 counties. If approved, the declaration would provide cities, towns and counties financial assistance to cover the cost of debris removal and emergency protective measures like overtime for fire and police as well as road clearing, sanding and salting costs. The emergency declaration would also provide generators, bottled water, cots, blankets and meals ready to eat (MREs) which Oklahoma has requested of the federal government. Please note these generators are industrial-size and NOT for residential use.
An ice storm warning continues until 6 a.m. Tuesday for an area north of a line from Hollis to Mangum to Oklahoma City to Vinita. Additional rainfall is expected across the state tonight as a storm system moves toward the area from California. Temperatures have warmed above freezing across the southeast half of Oklahoma and a cold rain is expected in this area. The freezing line will continue to move slowly north during the overnight hours and areas south of this line will transition to a cold rain. In the ice storm warning area additional ice accumulations of one-quarter to one-half inches are possible. Northwest Oklahoma may receive more ice with this round of precipitation than other areas as the region remains below freezing longer.
INJURIES AND FATALITIES
The number of Ice Storm-related fatalities remains at 12, according to the Oklahoma State Medical Examiners Office. All died in motor vehicle accidents.
Two people died in separate wrecks in Oklahoma County.
One died in a crash in Canadian County.
Two people died in separate accidents in Beckham County.
One died in a crash in Tillman County.
Four died in an accident in Okfuskee County.
Two people died in accidents in Tulsa County (This includes a man who died today in Tulsa when a utility pole fell on his vehicle.)
Additionally, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol has worked more than 150 injury and non-injury collisions since Saturday night. OHP continues to discourage travel due to hazardous road conditions.
Oklahoma Corporation Commission reports statewide more than 513,000 homes and businesses are without electric service.
AEP-PSO reports 218,915 customers without power, including 194,303 in the Tulsa metro area, 7,977 in Bartlesville and 6,827 in Vinita.
OG&E reports 237,306 customers without power, including 217,500 in the Oklahoma City metro area.
Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives reports about 57,250 rural electric customers without power.
Shelters are open at the following locations for those displaced by the ice storm.
Beggs � High School, 1111 W. Ninth
Bixby � New Beginnings Church, 4104 E. 151st
Bristow � First Baptist Church, 266 E. Sixth
Broken Arrow � Arrow Heights Church, 3201 S. Elm Place
Carney � Community Center, 701 S. Highway 177
Chandler � First Baptist Church, 912 W. First
Chickasha — Bible Baptist Church, 1828 S. 13th Street
Claremore � First United Methodist Church, 1615 N. Highway 88
Collinsville � First Baptist Church, 1301 W. Main
Commerce � Southeast Baptist Church, 103 East B Street
Del City � Community Center, 4505 SE 15th
Ketchum � Methodist Church, 206 Amarillo Drive
Meeker � City Hall
Miami � Assembly of God Church, 1815 E. Steve Owens Blvd.
Midwest City � Reed Center, 5800 Will Rogers
Moore � Community Center, 301 S. Howard
Oklahoma City � Trinity Baptist Church, 1329 NW 23rd
Okmulgee � Okmulgee High School, 415 W. Third Street
Owasso � Freedom Church, 96th Street N. and 177 E. Ave.
Pitcher � 100 Deville Creek
Prague � 1500 Bluebell
Sand Springs � Olive Baptist Church, 155 N. 65th West Ave.
Sapulpa � First Baptist Church, 200 S. Elm
Shawnee � Expo Center, 1700 W. Independence Street
Sperry � First Baptist Church, 115 N. Cincinnati
Stroud � Senior Citizens Building, 212 W. Main Street
Tulsa � First Baptist Church, 403 S. Cincinnati
Tulsa � Asbury United Methodist Church, 6767 S. Mingo
Vinita � Emmanuel Temple, 437551 East Highway 60
Travel is discouraged across many areas of the state where tonight�s refreeze may deliver black ice. Motorists are also reminded to watch for downed tree limbs and low lying electric lines on roadways. For information regarding Oklahoma road conditions call 888-425-2385. For road conditions in neighboring states call: Texas, 800-452-9292; Kansas, 866-511-5368; Arkansas, 800-245-1672; and Missouri, 800-222-6400.
The Oklahoma State Department of Health offers the following safety tips related to the ice storm.
Avoid Ice: Walking on ice is extremely dangerous. Many cold-weather injuries result from falls on ice-covered sidewalks, steps, driveways, and porches. Keep your steps and walkways as free of ice as possible by using rock salt or another chemical de-icing compound. Sand or kitty liter may also be used on walkways to reduce the risk of slipping. Older adults and anyone with difficulty maintaining balance should avoid ice.
Heating Safety: When temperatures fall and power goes out, the possibility of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning rises as people try to stay warm. Invisible, odorless and tasteless, CO is a highly poisonous gas produced by the burning of fuel such as gasoline, natural gas, kerosene, charcoal or wood. Un-vented or faulty gas and kerosene appliances have the greatest potential to produce dangerous levels of CO in a home. Smoldering or poorly vented fireplaces, slow burning fuels such as charcoal and vehicle exhausts also are potential indoor hazards. Take these precautions:
� Look at the color of the flame. A hot blue flame produces less CO and more heat than a flickering yellow flame. If you see yellow flames in your furnace or stove burner, it should be adjusted so that the flame is blue.
� Don�t use an un-vented gas or kerosene heater in closed spaces, especially sleeping areas.
� Don�t use gas appliances such as an oven, range or clothes dryer to heat your home.
� Don�t burn charcoal inside a house, garage, vehicle or tent for heating or cooking, even in a fireplace.
� Never use an electrical generator indoors or in an attached garage. Only operate it outdoors in a well-ventilated, dry area, away from air intakes to the home, and protected from direct exposure to rain and snow, preferably under a canopy, open shed or carport.
� Look for CO exposure symptoms including headache, dizziness, weakness, sleepiness, nausea and vomiting that can progress to disorientation, coma, convulsions and death.
� If you suspect CO poisoning, open doors and windows, turn off gas appliances, and go outside for fresh air. Call 9-1-1 emergency medical services in severe cases.
� To prevent residential fires, make sure heaters, stoves, and fireplaces are at least three feet from anything that burns. Use screens in front of fireplaces, and do not leave children alone with space heaters. Never leave candles burning when you are not at home or while you are sleeping. If a heater uses fuel like propane or kerosene, use only that kind of fuel and add more fuel only when the heater is cool. Store all fuels outside in closed metal containers.
The National Weather Service is broadcasting Carbon Monoxide safety messages via the NOAA Weather Radio network. NOAA Weather Radios, which many people have in their homes, include a battery back-up.
For more information, weather news, weather blog, and chase summaries go to http://www.hook-echo.com.