Record rainfall across the central plains for the month of May has brought flooding to northern and north central Oklahoma, washing out roads and bridges, flooding homes, damaging crops and endangering pets and livestock.
As of May 29, the Oklahoma Mesonet had recorded a 30-day accumulation of 19.2 inches of rain at Stillwater, more than half the city's average annual accumulation of 37.29 inches.
May's heavy rains were preceded by wetter than normal conditions for most of the state over the past 365 days. Stillwater logged 58.1 inches during that 12 month period.
A forecast that shows continued chances of thunderstorms on most days through June 12 means things won't be drying out quickly, although flood waters in the Stillwater area are beginning to recede and residents are beginning to take stock of their damage.
The Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management issued a situation update for the state on Wednesday that said a State of Emergency remains in effect for all 77 counties due to severe weather that began in April. That executive order from Gov. Kevin Stitt allows state agencies to make emergency purchases and expedite delivery of resources to local jurisdictions. It's also the first step in seeking federal assistance.
The State Emergency Operations Center remains activated as a result of the flooding and severe weather impacts across the state. It is coordinating with local emergency managers and a long list of public safety agencies, state government agencies and relief organizations.
As of May 29, 118 injuries related to flooding and severe weather had been reported by hospitals around the state.
The Oklahoma Office of the Chief Medical Examiner reports that six fatalities can be attributed to flooding and severe weather, including:
The American Red Cross is operating shelters for displaced residents in Coweta, Glenpool, Miami, Roland, Spiro, Fort Gibson, Nowata, Kingfisher and Muskogee. A shelter in Tulsa is reported to be full.
Health and Safety
The State Department of Health and county health departments in areas impacted by flooding and severe weather have offered free tetanus immunizations for residents affected by recent storms. Some tribal governments are also assisting in their service areas. The Choctaw Nation Health Services provided a nurse strike team to give tetanus shots to emergency responders in LeFlore County.
Tetanus boosters are recommended every 10 years for adults and adolescents but people who have a wound that could be contaminated by dirt or flood water should get another tetanus shot if it has been at least five years.
The Payne County Health Department's free tetanus immunization clinic continues 10 a.m. -- 2 p.m. Thursday in room 121 of the Stillwater Community Center, 315 W. 8th Ave.
Safe drinking water
The Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality will test private water wells that have been submerged in flood water for bacteria. The testing is available to residents of all 77 counties who have been impacted by flooding at no cost through July 15.
ODEQ recommends that people who have private wells that have been submerged not drink the water until the well has been disinfected and the water has been tested and shown to be safe.
A fact sheet with instructions for disinfecting your water well is available online at https://bit.ly/2Ke7EWu. Residents can also call DEQ at 800-522-0206 for disinfection and sampling instructions and supplies.
Disasters can bring out the best in people as they rush to help each other, but they can also bring out the worst as scam artists take advantage of people trying to clean and repair their properties.
The Oklahoma Insurance Department has issued the following warning about consumer fraud in the wake of recent flooding and severe weather to prevent people from being re-victimized.
If you suspect fraud, contact the Oklahoma Attorney General's Consumer Protection Unit at 405-521-2029 or [email protected] or the Oklahoma Insurance Department's Anti-Fraud Unit at 800-522-0071 or [email protected]. The Attorney General's disaster scam prevention packet can be found online at https://bit.ly/2GUNYU0.
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