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 is working to assist stranded motorists in the Woodward area.
All highways in the northwestern Oklahoma counties of Cimarron, Beaver, Texas, Harper, Ellis, and Woodward remain closed until further notice. Crews are out in Woods, Alfalfa and Major counties, reporting slick and hazardous roadways while treating roads and plowing as needed.
Additionally, ODOT reports US270 in Canadian County is closed between Calumet and Geary due to drifting snow. Heavy, blowing snow is being reported throughout the western half of Canadian County.
Travel is discouraged in Garfield, Kingfisher, Logan, and Noble counties due to heavy snow and strong winds. Drivers in Blaine and Beckham counties 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.
INJURIES AND FATALITIES
The Oklahoma Highway Patrol reports one fatality in Woodward due to a collapsed roof at a home.
The Oklahoma State Department of Health reports no weather related injuries.
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 36,000 power outages related to the storm.
Oklahoma Electric Cooperative reports 19,259 outages including:
Alfalfa Electric Cooperative in Cherokee - 1,200
Caddo Electric - 2,029
Cimarron Electric - 5,250
Kiwash Electric - 4,675
Northwestern Electric Cooperative - 2,500
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.
Alfalfa County Emergency Management reports Alfalfa County is without power. The sheriff’s department is assisting with rescues. High winds, heavy snow and high drifts are widespread.
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.
Oklahomans are urged to avoid travel. If travel is unavoidable, make sure you let someone know where you are going and the route you are taking and be sure to have the following items with you in your vehicle.
• A cell phone with charger and a battery powered radio.
• Windshield scraper, deicer, snow shovel and small broom for ice and snow removal.
• Several blankets or sleeping bags.
• Rain gear, warm coats and extra sets of dry clothing, mittens, socks and a cap.
• Non-perishable snacks like dried fruit, nuts and other high energy snacks.
• Several bottles of water. Eating snow will lower your body temperature so melt it first.
• Sand or cat litter for generating traction under wheels and a set of tire chains.
• Jumper cables, flashlight with extra batteries, first aid kit and brightly colored cloth to tie to antenna if you get stranded.
As the storm moves through the state, it’s important to remember these additional winter weather preparedness tips.
Have A Plan:
• Understand the hazards of wind chill. Cold temperatures are even more dangerous, and potentially deadly, when combined with strong winds. The lower the temperature and stronger the wind, the more at risk you are.
• Check on family, friends and neighbors, especially the elderly. Make sure they are prepared.
• Plan to bring pets inside during winter weather. Move livestock to sheltered areas with
non-frozen drinking water.
• Let faucets drip a little to avoid freezing
• Know what National Weather Service winter storm and blizzard watches and warnings mean.
• A winter storm watch is a message indicating a winter storm is possible in your area.
• A winter storm warning indicates a winter storm is occurring winter storm is occurring or will soon occur in your area and could threaten life and property.
• A blizzard warning means sustained winds or frequent gusts to 35 mph or greater and considerable falling or blowing snow is expected to prevail for a period of three hours or longer.
FOX23 will bring you continuous updates on the air and on FOX23.com.