The Rogers County Courthouse parking lot is unusually empty, but down in the basement, things are stukk buzzing in the Emergency Operations Center.

EOC is the command center for areawide police, fire and other emergency responders to coordinate their activities during situations such as those created by the ongoing hazardous weather gripping Rogers County and beyond.

No deaths have been reported in Rogers County due to the rain and ice which moved into the area as early as Saturday evening.

“We surprisingly have had very few medical emergencies,” said Claremore Fire Chief Mark Dowler. “People have stayed in.”

According to Rogers County Emergency Management Services Director Bob Anderson, power outages started in the county in the early a.m. Sunday and continued through Monday.

“Power could be out for three to seven days in some areas,” said Anderson. He said at least 5,000 households across Rogers County were reported without power since the freezing rain began to take its toll on tree limbs and power lines.

Foyil Fire Department Chief Randy Atchley confirmed Anderson’s estimate of power outages, saying early today that AEP/PSO is telling them “global” power may not be restored until sometime Tuesday, Dec. 18.

“VVEC (Verdigris Valley Electric) won’t give us an estimate,” Atchley said.

In the meantime, the County EOC will coordinate assistance for residents countywide. Department heads from various emergency response agencies make up the EOC. Susie Rains of EMS said their job is primarily to help with any needs those agencies have.

Several municipalities reported effects of the storm.

Oologah Mayor Jerry Holland, who was on vacation at Lake Tahoe, said Monday that he was in contact with other town officials and hoped to be back in town by Tuesday.

“Oologah is a disaster area,” said Holland. He said the town would be seeking help from FEMA. “We’re really in trouble. We need help. We’ll be calling EMS for help.”

Holland said the county had dozed trees off the streets but he was concerned about elderly who could not get out or who needed special assistance.

In Inola Mayor Cheryl Charles said she lost power at her residence around 5:30 a.m. Monday morning as did the Minit Mart and most of west Inola.

Inola Fire Chief Barney Grigg said by 11 a.m. three-quarters or more of the town was without electric. He reported multiple power lines and trees down.

Mayor Rita Lamkin said power was out all over Catoosa.

“Major transformer feeder lines are down,” said Lamkin. She reported that City Hall was without power and off-duty police as well as all fire and city maintenance had come in and were “looking for people in distress.”

Verdigris Town Manager Joe Robinson said power was out and trees down.

“The light at Gordon Road is out,” he said. “We put a stop sign up.”

Verdigris Town Hall was also without power.

Rogers County Election Board Secretary Terri Thomas conferred with Anderson, trying to identify polling sites without power so that provisions could be made for Tuesday’s vote. Monday afternoon, the NTC vote was canceled, but as of late afternoon two provisions on the ballot at Collinsville were still scheduled.

As coordinator of the EOC, Anderson’s duties are to aid in communication between responding agencies, help fill needs, and route problems to the proper authorities for a more coordinated and unified effort.



SIDEBAR

Timeline:

•Sunday, 5 a.m.–Eastern part of county lost power along with Collinsville, Skiatook and the Limestone area covered by Verdigris Valley Electric

•8 p.m.–Anderson said more outages were reported from trees falling

•Monday 2 a.m. Claremore started to lose power; Emergency Operations Center was set up to coordinate county-wide emergency responders





Contact Joy Hampton at 341-1101 or at news4@claremoreprogress.com