A state of emergency was declared Wednesday by Gov. Mary Fallin for 35 Oklahoma counties because of straight-line winds, hail, flooding and tornadoes that began Tuesday.
The counties included in the declaration are Alfalfa, Blaine, Bryan, Caddo, Canadian, Cleveland, Comanche, Cotton, Creek, Custer, Dewey, Ellis, Garfield, Garvin, Grady, Grant, Harper, Kingfisher, Kiowa, Latimer, Lincoln, Logan, Love, Major, McClain, Oklahoma, Okmulgee, Pittsburg, Pottawatomie, Stephens, Tillman, Tulsa, Washita, Woods and Woodward.
The declaration can be amended to add additional counties if conditions warrant.
The emergency declaration also activated Oklahoma's price-gouging statute, which prohibits an increase of more than 10 percent in the price of most goods and services.
Under the 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, if necessary.
The severe storms that hit Tuesday night and Wednesday morning resulted in damage to homes, businesses and vehicles, as well as numerous power outages. Damage assessments continued late Wednesday.
“The severe storms that crossed the state on Tuesday left behind massive damage to personal and business property that will need to be repaired,” state Attorney General Scott Pruitt said. “The overwhelming majority of Oklahomans are focused on helping their neighbors in the aftermath, but we have seen a few cases of price gouging and fraudulent claims in the past, so consumers need to be aware.”
The statute was adopted after tornadoes in May 1999 caused significant damage across a large portion of Oklahoma.
“This statute is meant to protect Oklahomans during some of their most vulnerable times,” Pruitt said. “Our hope is that knowledge of the law will prevent artificial price increases and remind anyone considering such action that they may face criminal or civil action.”
Oklahomans who suspect price gouging should file a complaint with the attorney general's public protection unit. Complaint forms are available at www.oag.ok.gov or