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Oklahoma tornadoes: At least six of Mondays classified at EF-3

Problems with power outages and water shortages continue in the wake of Mondays significant tornado outbreak.

FROM STAFF REPORTS Modified: May 13, 2010 at 6:08 am •  Published: May 13, 2010

/> Oklahoma City officials are working on a storm debris pickup plan and will notify the public as soon as it is in place, spokeswoman Jennifer McClintock said.

Property damage will total "tens of millions of dollars,” said Jerry Johns, president of Southwestern Insurance Information Service.

"At this point it is difficult to project how many tens of million of dollars, but the storms will be a major Oklahoma catastrophe for insurers,” he said.

Texas-based Southwestern Insurance Information Service is a trade association that provides public information for insurance companies that write about 85 percent of property and casualty coverage in Oklahoma and Texas.

Power outages, water woes
Utility outages are among the lingering issues in the wake of Monday’s tornadoes.

Oklahoma City Utilities Department officials said they are working with Oklahoma Gas and Electric Co. to restore power to both the south and north feeds of the Lake Stanley Draper water treatment plant, which was knocked out during Monday night’s storm. The department has never dealt with a situation where both feeds were out at the same time.

The Draper facility, which supplies water to citizens in south Oklahoma City and surrounding communities, is currently running off of a generator and is at 20 percent capacity, which is adequate to handle current water demands after this week’s rainy weather.

Pending no further significant weather events, officials hope to begin transitioning to OG&E electric service overnight today, at which time they will begin working on the south feed.

It will take several more weeks for the north feed to be up and running. The plant will work off of a combination of OG&E and generator power until both feeds are fully operational.

Citizens may experience sporadic fluctuations in service delivery until both feeds are up and running.

Once OG&E power is fully restored, the facility slowly will begin increasing water pressure in incremental steps to ensure no damage is done to the infrastructure.

Oklahoma City’s mandatory outdoor watering ban continues for all residences and businesses in order to maintain adequate water pressure for fire protection and drinking water needs in Oklahoma City.

In Norman, a mandatory ban on outdoor watering is in place and residents are asked to conserve water overall until they can restore power to pumps used to bring water from Lake Thunderbird to the water treatment plant.

Norman Utilities Director Ken Komiske said the city is using one emergency generator, but it is only getting about 25 percent of the water it usually gets from the lake because of a power outage. Norman’s usual backup plan is to buy water from Oklahoma City and use an emergency connector to get it pumped to the Norman plant. Norman can’t do that this time because of the issues at the Draper plant.

Yukon also continues under an outdoor water ban.

As of Wednesday evening, the OG&E System Watch shows 4,838 customers without electricity, almost all in the Oklahoma City metro area.

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