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Oklahoma City Weather Situation Update 2: May 7, 9:30 a.m

MSNBC coverage of severe weather outbreak in Oklahoma on May 7, 2015
MSNBC coverage of severe weather outbreak in Oklahoma on May 7, 2015

Staff Report

Crews continue to provide assistance and survey damage Thursday morning in the wake of Wednesday’s severe storms.

High water remains an issue hindering travel at some points in south Oklahoma City, where the most rain fell Wednesday. Waterways in the south metro are still swollen as the watershed drains.

The most significant damage in Oklahoma City from tornadoes and damaging winds is near Interstate 35 and SE 44. Emergency responders reported heavy damage at a hotel and recreational vehicle park in the area.

Five people suffered serious injuries in Oklahoma City and were taken to local hospitals, the Emergency Medical Services Authority reported.

Firefighters performed 13 and 160 high-water assists Wednesday and early Thursday.

Will Rogers World Airport operational despite flood damage
Heavy rain and flooding caused damage to the terminal building at Will Rogers World Airport, but the flooding is not expected to have a major impact on operations.

At least 12 leaks in the terminal building caused flooding, particularly on the baggage claim level and the pedestrian tunnel from the terminal to the parking garages.

The general aviation terminal also sustained flood damage.

Crews are continuing to assess damage this morning, as are airport tenants.
Some early-morning flights were delayed or canceled as airlines continued to deal with logistical problems posed by Wednesday’s storms. Check with your airline if you have travel plans today.

Minor flood damage at City of OKC buildings
Police Department headquarters downtown sustained minor flood damage overnight in the basement. Operations are not affected.

The Municipal Courts building downtown sustained minor flood damage overnight, but the courts are open for business as usual. City employees bailed water from the building into the early morning hours Thursday, and court rooms and other public areas were not damaged.

The City’s main office building, 420 W Main St., and Fire Station 5, NW 22 and N Broadway Avenue, are also operational Thursday after minor flooding.

Several other City government buildings and parks sustained minor damage, but major operations are unaffected.

Shelter, social services and pets
The American Red Cross of Central Oklahoma is operating a shelter at Santa María Virgen Episcopal Church, 5500 S Western Ave., to provide a shelter and access to services for people affected by Wednesday’s storms. Services are available in English and Spanish.

Information and access to social services are also available by calling 211. The Salvation Army and United Way of Central Oklahoma are among groups providing services and rendering aid.

Animal Welfare
OKC Animal Welfare also has a shelter for pets at the Red Cross shelter. Services including veterinary care are available.

Anyone who finds an animal needing assistance in a storm-damaged are can call the Animal Shelter’s dispatch line at 297-2255.

Anyone looking for a lost pet can go to the Animal Shelter, SE 29 and S Bryant Avenue, or look for their pet online at

Road closures as of 9 a.m.
·        S Council Road from SW 112 to SW 119
·        SW 29 and Sara Road
·        Midwest Boulevard NE 50 to NE 63
·        Hiwassee Road from SE 54 to SE 89
·        SW 44 and S Morgan Road
·        13200 block of S Choctaw Road
·        SW 74 from S Peebly to S Luther roads

Traffic signals out as of 9 a.m.
·        Reno and Portland avenues
·        Portland Avenue and Highline Boulevard
·        SW 44 and S MacArthur Boulevard
·        SW 29 and S Meridian Avenue
·        SE 44 and S High Avenue
·        SE 89 and S Sooner Road
·        SE 44 and S Eastern Avenue
·        SW 74 and S Douglas Boulevard
·        SE 44  Interstate 35
·        SW 59 and S Sooner Road
·        SW 44 and S Portland Avenue
·        SE 44 and S Douglas Boulevard
·        SE 44 and S Bryant Avenue
·        SE 44 and S Shields Boulevard
·        NW 6 and N Broadway Avenue
·        SW 29 and S Shields Boulevard
·        SE 29 and S Central Avenue
·        SE 29 and SE Grand Boulevard
·        SE 29 and S Eastern Avenue
·        Northwest Expressway and N Mustang Road
·        Northwest Expressway and N Sara Road

Some detours for EMBARK services as of 9 a.m.
High water has prompted a detour on EMBARK Route 14, but all other routes are operating Thursday morning either normally or with only minor detours. Short delays are possible.

There were some delays during the storms Wednesday evening. Two buses were used to take displaced residents to shelters.

Power outages as of 9 a.m.
The Oklahoma Gas and Electric Co. reported about 8,000 customers were without power in Oklahoma City.

Weather forecast as of 9 a.m.
The National Weather Service rates the chance for severe thunderstorms on an increasing scale: marginal, slight, enhanced, moderate and high.

There’s a slight chance for more severe storms Thursday in Oklahoma City between 6 p.m. and midnight, according to the weather service. The mean threats are damaging straight-line winds, hail and locally heavy rainfall, but tornadoes are possible.

Oklahoma City has an enhanced chance for severe thunderstorms Friday and a moderate chance Saturday, according to the weather service.

Vehicle safety in floods
·        Never drive around road barriers. They are there for a reason.
·        Avoid driving during a flash flood.
·        If you can’t see the road, don’t drive in it. Turn around and take a different route. If there is no other route, drive to higher ground and wait for the water to recede.
·        Even if the water appears shallow enough to cross, don’t try it. Water hides dips in the road. Worse yet, there may be no road at all under the water. Flooding can scour away the entire road and a significant amount of ground beneath.
·        Six inches of water can reach the bottom of most passenger cars, causing you to lose control or possibly stall.
·        Two feet of flowing water is enough to sweep your vehicle away – including SUV’s and pickups.
·        Attempts to move stalled vehicles can end in drowning.

Pedestrian safety in floods
·        Avoid walking in floodwater. Drowning is the number one cause of flood deaths. If you must walk through a flooded area, use a pole or stick to ensure that the ground is solid, even where the water is not flowing.
·        Six inches of swiftly moving water can knock you off of your feet.
·        Do not play near creeks or drainage areas.
·        It is not safe for anyone, regardless of your swimming ability, to swim in floodwater. Besides the danger of swift current, the water can be contaminated.
·        Retention basins are sometimes used as sports fields and walking areas when the ground is dry. Avoid these areas when they are filled with water. Their primary purpose of these basins is to hold water and keep rain from flooding surrounding neighborhoods. Their secondary purpose is recreation.
·        If you come in contact with floodwater, wash your hands with soap and disinfected water.

Home safety in floods
·        Turn off all utilities at the main power switch and close the main gas valve if advised to do so.
·        If water rises in your home before you evacuate, call 911 and go to the top floor or roof.

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