Monday, 10 December 2007
The ice storm that hit Tulsa Sunday evening like a crystal blanket is crushing the canopy of trees throughout the metropolitan area and the exploding wood is falling on power lines leaving hundreds of thousands without electricity, In many cases homes are without heat in below freezing temperatures. Many have sought shelter with friends and family and public services are responding.
City Police, Fire, Public Works and other departments are working overtime to deal with the tremendously high volume of calls for emergency assistance and for assistance with removing tree limbs that block streets and driveways.
Mayor Kathy Taylor, joined by the heads of several City departments and by representatives from Tulsa County, Tulsa City-County Health Department, EMSA, the Red Cross and other service agencies continue to work in the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) to direct responses as needed.
Thousands of calls have been made to the City’s 911 operators requesting police, fire, medical and other assistance.
Tulsa firefighters have responded to more than 50 structural fires since the storm began. One smoke-inhalation fatality was reported. One traffic fatality, in which a vehicle struck a downed powerline and brought a power pole down on the vehicle, occurred Monday morning.
At 2 p.m., Tulsa police had 76 uniformed officers patrolling streets. They were assisted by 65 detectives, academy staff and recruits and other police officers taking calls and looking for hazardous situations.
Public Works had 30 crews removing tree debris and checking bridges and overpasses for ice.
“All agencies are working diligently to deal with the needs of citizens,” said Mayor Taylor. “We will continue to monitor weather conditions and to direct operations as long as needed from the EOC.”
“I want to urge everyone to be very cautious in coming days,” the mayor said.
The Mohawk Water Treatment Plant is without power. Output has been increased at the A.B. Jewell Water Treatment Plant, but Tulsans are being asked to conserve water and use it only for necessary purposes until full power is restored at all treatment plants.
PSO is working to restore power to all hospitals and water and sewer treatment plants. A PSO spokesman said he expects to have power restored at those critical places by the end of the day.
All flights were cancelled today at Tulsa International Airport which was without power. Power has now been restored at the airport buildings, but a regular flight schedule won’t resume until Tuesday. Passengers are urged to contact their individual carriers to inquire about rescheduling.
Officials offer the following advice:
Stay at home and inside your home. Trees and many active power lines are down throughout the Tulsa area. It is hazardous to travel right now.”
Do not touch any downed tree limbs or power lines. Do not attempt to remove limbs yet; trees and power lines are unstable and may fall. Stay away from fences – energized power lines could activate a fence line throughout a neighborhood.
If you must travel today, drive slowly and increase your stopping distance. Watch for downed trees and power lines across roads. Pack blankets, water, food items and a phone to take with you.
Traffic lights are out at many intersections. Some may not yet have temporary four-way stop signs positioned. Treat all intersections as a four-way stop. Stop, and look in all directions before cautiously proceeding through the intersection.
Call 911 for life-threatening emergencies only. Please do not hang up if you call, your call will be answered in the order in which it was received.
The Tulsa Police Department is on Operation Slick Streets. If you have a non-injury accident, do not call 911; police will not respond. Instead, exchange insurance information with the other driver and complete a accident report. Forms available at Tulsapolice.org or area QuikTrips.
Tulsa City-County Health Department would caution citizens to keep their refrigerator and freezer doors closed. Food can spoil within 4-6 hours. More information about food safety can be found on the TCCHD website – www.tulsa-health.org.
All major area hospitals except OSU Medical Center are operating on back-up power. AEP-PSO has prioritized restoring power to hospitals first. All hospitals are open at this time, but have canceled all elective surgeries. Some specific hospital units have encountered issues that have lessened capabilities.
The City’s Public Works Department has prioritized clearing arterial streets leading up to hospitals first. These include Utica Avenue (from 11th to 21st Streets), 21st Street (from Utica to Yale Avenues), Yale Avenue (from 21st to 71st Streets), 71st Street (from Yale to Memorial Avenues), Memorial Drive (from 71st to 91st Streets), 91st Street (from Memorial Drive to Highway 169).
Power was interrupted at most Tulsa-area hospitals Monday, but service was restored to all but St. John’s by mid-afternoon. St. Johns was operating on backup generators.
All area hospitals anticipate the need for additional staffing resources throughout the week. All available employees are asked to call their respective units to provide staffing assistance. Please do NOT call the main hospital switchboards.
Chronically ill individuals who require oxygen at home need to contact their oxygen supplier for portable canisters and further assistance. It could take several days for power to be restored to all homes.
Do not seek shelter from the cold at area hospitals. Hospital resources must be reserved to care for sick and injured citizens. Seek shelter at one of the designated public shelters:
In Tulsa – the Salvation Army Day Center (102 N. Denver); First Baptist Church (403 S. Cincinnati);
In Collinsville, First Baptist Church (1301 W. Main)
In Sand Springs, Olivette Baptist Church (155 N. 65th West Avenue)
In Bixby, New Beginnings Baptist Church (4104 E. 151st)
In Owasso, Freedom Baptist Church (96th Street North & 177th East Avenue)
In Sapulpa, First Baptist Church (200 S. Elm.
The Community Service Council’s 211 emergency assistance line is among those agencies whose phone service has been interrupted. For general information, citizens can call the Mayor’s Action Center at 596-2100.
To report downed power lines, call 888-218-3919.
To request removal of branches and trees in the street, call 596-9711.
To request Tulsa Transit LIFT service, call 625-8722.
Public safety resources are currently dedicated to managing weather-related emergencies and incident stabilization. Please refrain from contacting the Tulsa Police Department, Tulsa Fire Department, EMSA or the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office unless you have a true emergency. The Tulsa Police Department non-emergency number is 596-9977. The Tulsa Fire Department non-emergency number is 596-9222.
If you are interested or available to volunteer, contact the American Red Cross at 831-1100.
The National Weather Service reports that more freezing rain may be moving into the Tulsa area this afternoon.
Last Updated ( Monday, 10 December 2007 )