Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin seeks federal disaster declaration

Gov. Mary Fallin is seeking an emergency disaster declaration that would reimburse expenses incurred by agencies responding to the blizzard in Oklahoma.
BY MICHAEL MCNUTT mmcnutt@opubco.com Modified: February 2, 2011 at 1:59 pm •  Published: February 2, 2011

Gov. Mary Fallin is asking the White House to approve an emergency disaster declaration request for the entire state as a result of the blizzard that has hammered Oklahoma, she said today.

If approved, state and local governments will receive 75 percent reimbursement for expenses associated with responding to the storm, Fallin said. Eligible expenses could include overtime costs as well as costs associated with operating shelters and clearing snow and ice-covered roads.

After damage assessment teams survey affected areas, additional federal assistance may be requested to aid local and state government recovery efforts, Fallin said.

She made the comments while talking with representatives of several agencies who were working in the state's emergency operations center, which is in an underground bunker in the state Capitol complex.

She applauded efforts by the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, the state Transportation Department, the Oklahoma National Guard and others for working through the winter storm that has dumped more than 20 inches of snow in the northeastern part of the state.

“The response has just been tremendous,” she said. “We certainly will have a couple more days to get through this because there is a lot of snow piled up.”

While sunny skies were prevalent in central Oklahoma, residents still should exercise caution because of bone-chilling temperatures, the governor said.

“People will still be stranded at different times if they're not careful,” she said. “Just because the sun's out doesn't mean that we're through some challenging times.”



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