Oklahoma reeling from storm surge, Governor Fallin declares emergency
Published: May 25th, 2011
As she prepared to visit areas ravaged by bad weather yesterday, Governor Mary Fallin today (Wednesday, May 25) declared a State of Emergency for 68 of Oklahoma’s 77 counties.
The May 24 storms caused some loss of life, and did substantial damage throughout the state. The carnage to persons and property was the result of flooding, straight line winds, tumultuous storms and a series of tornados.
Counties included in the emergency declaration are: Adair, Alfalfa, Atoka, Blaine, Bryan, Caddo, Canadian, Carter, Cherokee, Choctaw, Cleveland, Coal, Comanche, Cotton, Craig, Creek, Custer, Delaware, Dewey, Garfield, Garvin, Grady, Grant, Haskell, Hughes, Jackson, Jefferson, Johnston, Kay, Kingfisher, Kiowa, Latimer, LeFlore, Lincoln, Logan, Love, Major, Marshall, Mayes, McClain, McCurtain, McIntosh, Murray, Muskogee, Noble, Nowata, Okfuskee, Oklahoma, Okmulgee, Osage, Ottawa, Pawnee, Payne, Pittsburg, Pontotoc, Pottawatomie, Pushmataha, Rogers, Seminole, Sequoyah, Stephens, Tillman, Tulsa, Wagoner, Washington, Washita, Woods and Woodward.
All but nine Oklahoma counties have now been included in the state of emergency. According to the governor’s office and the Emergency Operations Center, damage assessments are still underway across the state.
Under the chief executive’s Executive Order, “state agencies can make emergency purchases and acquisitions needed to expedite the delivery of resources to local jurisdictions. The declaration also marks a first step toward seeking federal assistance should it be necessary.”
Fallin issued a statement yesterday to CapitolBeatOK and other news organizations, as storms moved across the state:
“It is obvious the State of Oklahoma has experienced a large tornado outbreak today. I am in constant contact with our State Emergency Operations Center and I know local authorities are doing everything they can to respond to the storm and keep our citizens safe.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to all those already affected by these storms.”
Wednesday morning, Gov. Mary Fallin and state officials are conducting an aerial tour of several central Oklahoma communities hit hard by yesterday’s tornadoes and storms.
After the aerial tour, the governor will also view damages on the ground in Chickasha and the community of Friend where a number of homes and businesses were damaged and destroyed. Fallin told reporters she would meet with them. According to Fallin’s staff, “The aerial tour will cover a number of hard hit communities including Guthrie, Piedmont, Cashion and Goldsby.”
Some counties are reeling in the wake of the new storms, having already garnered the disaster declaration from storms earlier this month. The counties previously designated include Adair, Blaine, Cherokee, Craig, Delaware, Kiowa, Mayes, Muskogee, Nowata, Okmulgee, Osage, Ottawa, Rogers and Wagoner.
The declaration can be amended to add additional counties if needed.
According to Fallin’s office, the emergency declaration allows state agencies to “make emergency purchases and acquisitions needed to expedite the delivery of resources to local jurisdictions. The declaration also marks a first step toward seeking federal assistance should it be necessary.”
At one point yesterday, television screens across the state showed a solid line of bright red representing the tornadoes and high winds stretching literally border to border, from the Red River in Texas north to Kansas line, roughly paralleling Interstate 35.