Oklahoma flooding: Threats continue as rain may taper off this afternoon.

Oklahoma City officials tell motorists to stay home.
By Julie Bisbee Modified: June 14, 2010 at 4:09 pm •  Published: June 14, 2010
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Yager said those already on the road or considering driving need to understand the danger they face.

"They need to find a parking area on high ground and just wait for this to pass," Yager said. "This is treacherous. They can be late to work. Their life depends on it."

Power outages

At one point, the Oklahoma Corporation Commission reported about 6,700 power outages related to the storm, including 6,595 OG&E customers (6,382 in the Oklahoma City area), and 60 PSO customers mainly in the Bixby area.

Flooding in Central Oklahoma

Flooding in Oklahoma, so far has been limited to central Oklahoma, said Michelann Ooten, spokeswoman for the state Department of Emergency Management.

"If you are somewhere dry, please just stay there," she said. "There is a possibility that could get stranded. Then first responders have to come and get you and they put their lives at risk."

Ooten also urged parents to remind children to stay out of flood waters.

"Flood waters is not the place you want to be. This is not the time to get out your raft and play in it. It's dirty and it's dangerous."

Disaster declaration

The Department of Emergency Management has not received any request for state assistance at this time, Ooten said. That could change as city and county officials begin to asses damage.

"They are still in response mode," she said. "We will continue to work long past the response to recovery with so many homes under water."

So far this year, Oklahoma has had two weather-related federal disaster declarations, Ooten said.

A federal disaster declaration was issued for the ice storm in late January and then in May for tornadoes. In 2007, nine federal disasters declarations were issued for weather related damage, Ooten said.

State Capitol damage

Nearly every building in the state Capitol complex has some sort of water related damage, said Randy Ross, deputy director of the Department of Central Services.

The office building that houses the state Agriculture Department closed this morning after electrical boxes at the building were under water, Ross said.

Water also leaked through the roof in Lincoln Plaza, which houses several agencies including the Oklahoma Health Care Authority. Ross said officials are still assessing the damage and trying to determine the cost. The Department of Central Services is responsible for 14 buildings, Ross said.

"Virtually every building the complex has issues at this point," Ross said. "Some of the buildings aren't the shape where we can start to send our guys in."

Ross said employees were using sump pumps and purchased new ones this morning to help get water out of buildings.

State agencies have also been told to close if working conditions had become dangerous to employees, Ross said.

Elsewhere in Oklahoma

Another line of thunderstorms fired up this afternoon along the I-44 corridor in southwestern Oklahoma, dumping as much as two inches of rainfall an hour in some areas.

Grady, Stephens, Caddo, Comanche and Kiowa counties in south central Oklahoma are under flash flood warnings until about 9 p.m.

Grady County Emergency Management Director Dale Thompson said there had been periods of heavy rainfall in Chickasha and the southern parts of the county throughout the afternoon but there not been any flooding problems as of about 2:45 p.m.

"We are continuing to keep an eye on it," Thompson said. "Right now, we've just had some steady rain."


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