Thursday, January 28, 2010
Because the latest weather event could include an ice storm and widespread power outages, emergency management authorities said it was important to issue the declaration tonight before the storm arrived so weight and size limits on state roadways could be waived to allow heavy power company vehicles to position themselves across the state.
“Our hope is the storm will not be as severe as many weather models have predicted, but we will be ready to respond to anything,” said Gov. Henry.
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.
A companion order signed by the governor waives certain size and weight restrictions for vehicles that will be needed to move emergency response equipment and supplies to affected areas.
“We began preparing for the winter storm earlier this week by pre-positioning assets across the state and putting the proper personnel in the field. As the storm moves Oklahoma, we will ramp up our response efforts. State troopers, National Guard personnel, emergency management officials, road crews and other first responders will all be on call, helping Oklahomans everywhere they can,” said Gov. Henry.
“I’m urging all Oklahomans to do their part by staying aware of weather conditions and not taking any unnecessary risks. This may be a very dangerous winter storm and we want Oklahomans to stay safe.”