Agency leaders reported low numbers of Oklahomans seeking help at shelters and warming stations throughout the metro Tuesday.
The American Red Cross of Central Oklahoma hadn't opened any emergency shelters as of Tuesday afternoon, CEO Janienne Bella said. Bella said the agency is talking with emergency management officials about the status of power outages, stranded motorists and other conditions.
“It's a good thing that we don't need to open up a shelter,” she said, “but we are watching to make sure that all the needs are met.”
Bella said she attributes the relative calm to two factors. First, electrical power service hasn't been greatly disrupted. Second, many residents planned ahead and were prepared for the storm.
The Salvation Army of Central Oklahoma housed 88 people in its shelters Monday night, spokeswoman Heide Brandes said.
More than 50 of those were men who stayed in the men's shelter, 330 SW 5. About 30 people, including 12 children, stayed in the family lodge, 516 S Hudson.
Brandes said more were expected Tuesday night.
In addition, the Cleveland County Corps office at 318 Hayes St. in Norman, housed 25 people Monday night and had room for about 10 more, shelter Director Robert Douglas said.
“I can fit even more in if I have to,” Douglas said.
A warming station has been set up at Cameron Baptist Church, 2621 SW C Ave. in Lawton. A few stranded motorists have been helped at that location, said Mary Fowler, chief programs officer for the American Red Cross Great Plains Service Center.
Open beds could be found at homeless shelters as well.
Nearly 50 new clients spent Monday night at City Rescue Mission, in addition to the 400 or so regular clients already staying there, executive director Tom Jones said.
Jones said the high winds and low temperatures brought in people who normally steer clear of the shelter because of mental illness or social phobias. The weather was simply too dangerous for people living outdoors, in tents or in makeshift shelters.
But that still left almost 200 beds empty, which Jones attributes to a lower homeless population and better programming to help people work toward permanent housing.
He said the timing of the storm also could affect the number of people seeking shelter. Some people received monthly disability checks Monday, and Jones said he expects many received money in time to rent rooms for the night.
Jones said the shelter at 800 W California is open to anyone, but the building cannot accommodate families wanting to stay together. Hot meals are also available to anyone, even those who don't stay at the shelter, he said.
The state Emergency Management Department released this list of community shelters:
Source: State Emergency Management Department