Governor Stitt provides an update and releases a statement on the storm response

Governor Kevin Stitt today provided an update and released a statement regarding the state’s ongoing response and recovery from severe weather and tornadoes that devastated communities across Oklahoma.

“I am pleased to announce that Osage and Pontotoc Counties have been added to the Oklahoma Federal Disaster Declaration to assist homeowners, renters and business owners affected by the recent tornadoes and severe storms.

“Our number one priority during tornado season is the safety of Oklahomans. I am grateful to our news media partners, the National Weather Service and relevant state agencies who play a huge role in increasing awareness and preparation for these types of storms.

“I have analyzed the damage in Sulphur, Marietta and Barnsdall and seen what our communities are facing. But the Spirit of Oklahoma is indestructible. We should all be inspired by the show of support from other states, neighbors and fellow Oklahomans who are coming together to pick up the pieces.

“I am grateful to my colleagues in the Oklahoma Legislature for committing to allocating necessary funds to help rebuild and rebuild our communities. We know that the destruction of businesses, homes and commercial centers takes a real toll on the local economy. We stand ready to uplift affected communities in every way possible.”

FEMA assistance is now available for Carter, Hughes, Love, Murray, Okmulgee, Osage and Pontotoc counties. FEMA continues to rapidly approve requests for assistance, and additional counties are likely to approach FEMA once damage assessments are completed. During this time, FEMA conducted 170 home inspections and 147 inspections were scheduled.

Initial damage assessments were conducted for homes and businesses in Carter, Hughes, Love, Murray, Okmulgee, Okfuskee, Osage, Pontotoc, Pottawatomie and Washita counties. Damage assessments in Kay and Lincoln counties are scheduled for May 9 and 10, respectively.

Efforts continue to restore critical infrastructure such as power lines. State and local governments are working with PSO, OG&E and electric cooperatives to expedite access to affected areas. Governor Stitt’s emergency declaration lifts regulations on oversized vehicles and suspends size and weight restrictions for emergency response and power restoration efforts.

Donations of all kinds are welcome. However, individual donations of clothing or items delivered directly to small rural communities can create storage capacity challenges. In contrast, reputable charities have a more defined infrastructure for distributing aid. The state is asking that all monetary and in-kind donations be made to volunteer organizations that always come to the aid of Oklahomans, such as the Red Cross of Oklahoma, Baptist Disaster Relief of Oklahoma, or the Salvation Army.