OKLAHOMA CITY -- State officials declared a state of emergency on Monday for 59 counties following severe storms and flooding that began on Sunday.
At the request of Governor Brad Henry, who is out of state, Lt. Gov. Jari Askins approved the paperwork declaring the emergency.
"We urge everyone to use caution as storms continue across our state," Lt. Gov. Jari Askins said. "Once again our heroic responders have demonstrated the ‘Oklahoma Standard.' I want to extend my thanks to the emergency crews and the news media for keeping the public safe and informed during this life-threatening crisis."
Counties included in the release are: Alfalfa, Beaver, Beckham, Blaine, Caddo, Canadian, Carter, Cherokee, Cleveland, Comanche, Cotton, Craig, Creek, Custer, Delaware, Dewey, Garfield, Garvin, Grady, Grant, Greer, Harmon, Hughes, Jackson, Jefferson, Kay, Kingfisher, Kiowa, Lincoln, Logan, Major, McClain, McIntosh, Mayes, Murray, Muskogee, Noble, Nowata, Oklahoma, Okfuskee, Okmulgee, Osage, Ottawa, Pawnee, Payne, Pontotoc, Pottawatomie, Roger Mills, Rogers, Seminole, Stephens, Texas, Tillman, Tulsa, Wagoner, Washington, Washita, Woods and Woodward.
The declaration provides a formal mechanism for local governments to seek reimbursement for recovery costs through the state's disaster public assistance program should conditions warrant. The executive order is also the first step toward seeking federal aid should it be necessary.
Additional counties may be added to the executive order as necessary.
The State Emergency Operations Center was activated by the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management Monday morning.
The Oklahoma State Department of Health urges Oklahomans to use caution when dealing with flood waters. Flood waters may contain snakes and insects; sharp objects and debris; and oil, gasoline, industrial waste or raw sewage.
To avoid illness and injury from floodwaters, the Oklahoma State Department of Health suggests the following:
To protect your family and yourself, avoid floodwaters if possible.
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