State of emergency declared for all 77 counties in Oklahoma
All 77 Oklahoma counties remain under a state of emergency due to severe weather, nearly a month after it was initially declared.
Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt initially declared a state of emergency on May 1 for 52 counties due to severe storms, flooding, tornadoes and straight-line winds, according to Oklahoma’s News 4. The state of emergency was amended on May 8 to include 14 more counties.
As of May 28, the state of emergency remains in effect, and the Oklahoma State Emergency Operations Center is still activated, according to the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management (OEM)’s website.
At least six people have died over the past few days, according to CNN. The state of emergency allows state agencies to make emergency purchases of items needed to get resources to local jurisdictions.
“Most importantly, thank you to the local first responders who saved lives…pulling people out of the rubble and working around the clock this weekend to ensure everyone was accounted for,” Stitt tweeted on May 27.
As the Army Corps of Engineers releases water from the Keystone Dam, Tulsa County, Okla., and Tulsa city officials are warning residents to stay away from areas near levees, Tulsa TV station News on 6 reports. While the levees are working, the added flow is placing additional strain on them, according to CNN.
“I continue to encourage people who live behind the levees to proactively relocate,” Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum said, per the New York Post. “The levees have never been tested like this, and if anything were to go wrong the amount of time to evacuate could be minutes rather than hours. Staying there is an unnecessary risk that you don’t have to take.”
“We have shelters, buses to transport you, and an emergency animal shelter for your pets,” Bynum added. “These options are all there for you to use, so please take advantage of them.”