OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- Heavy rain and wind from remnants of Hurricane Rita were expected to largely stay clear of Oklahoma, perhaps just nipping its southeast corner on Monday, the National Weather Service said Friday.
The hurricane was expected to slow after landfall early Saturday and was forecast to become nearly stationary Sunday and into early next week. It is expected to dump its heaviest rainfall over east Texas and western Louisiana.
Military cargo planes carrying 127 patients evacuated from Texas hospitals threatened by the hurricane arrived in Oklahoma City late Thursday and early Friday.
Emergency personnel from various Oklahoma agencies quickly shuttled the patients, many of them on stretchers, into waiting ambulances and on to area hospitals.
Another 50 Hurricane Rita evacuees from Texas coastal area arrived in Oklahoma City early Friday aboard Oklahoma Air National Guard C-130 aircraft and were taken to an American Red Cross shelter, said Michelann Ooten, spokeswoman for the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management.
The state's Emergency Operations Center was activated at 8 a.m. Friday and was to operate around the clock to monitor the hurricane and coordinate assistance from Oklahoma to neighboring states.
"They are downgrading our chances of severe weather," Ooten said. "It looks like the greater amount of work will be in assisting our neighbors. We anticipate the number of assistance requests to pick up tomorrow once the hurricane has made landfall and communities are able to get out and assess damage and determine what resources they may need."
Meanwhile, about 275 evacuees from Hurricane Katrina remained at Camp Gruber, a National Guard training facility near Muskogee.
Gov. Brad Henry said the state has offered to help Texas provide shelter for up to 1,000 people who were evacuated because of the hurricane.
Hotel operators from Ardmore to Oklahoma City to Tulsa reported very low vacancy rates as Texans fleeing the hurricane booked rooms.