MIAMI — Ottawa County was among 52 Oklahoma counties declared disaster areas Wednesday, May 1 by Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt, the aftereffect of April 30 storms that battered Miami and other parts of the state.
Along with Ottawa, Craig and Delaware counties were included in the declaration that allows state agencies to make emergency purchases needed for areas hit by the storms.
The declaration is also the first step toward seeking federal assistance should it be deemed necessary.
The order is in effect for 30 days and could be amended to include additional counties.
The Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management is asking residents impacted by the storms to report property damage at damage.ok.gov.
“Judging by the debris, it looks like we had a small tornado,” said Miami Police Chief and Emergency Management Director Thomas Anderson.
He said the storm rolled into town about 3rd and M NW near the Neosho River and continued east.
Tornadoes also were reported in Lincoln, Murray, Okmulgee, Nowata, Wagoner, Rogers, Bryan and Atoka counties over the course of the night.
The Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management said the Tuesday storms led to the deaths of a 55-year-old man in Tulsa and a 58-year-old woman in Bokchito.
“There was a lot of tree damage, a lot of power line damage,” Anderson said. “We had a few trees hit houses, but no injuries and no significant structural damage other than a couple houses being hit by trees.”
A meteorologist from the Tulsa office of the National Weather Service was expected to evaluate the damage Thursday, May 2.
A piece of sheet metal that got entangled with a string of insulators on one of two main Grand River Dam Authority feeder lines near Tar Creek caused a power outage for much of Miami Tuesday, according to GRDA spokesman Justin Alberty.
The incident happened around 6 p.m., Alberty said.
“They (repair crews) had to go in, take all the safety precautions to get set up and remove it,” he said. “That got us back on.”
He said there also had been damage to a pole between Fairland and Afton that was being replaced Wednesday.
Crews from Claremore and Tahlequah assisted City of Miami utility department workers with restoring power to areas that were affected by damaged utility poles and power lines.
Torrential rains accompanied the storm.
According to Oklahoma Mesonet, Miami had received 5.57 inches of rain as of 8 a.m. Wednesday.
Miami schools closed
Miami Public Schools were closed Wednesday according to superintendent Jeremy Hogan.
“We had some water damage because the rain came down so heavy and so hard,” he said. “We’ve got our basements flooded at Will Rogers and some water that got in through roof leaks and some that just blew in.”
He said because of power outages a considerable amount of the food inventory at some of the schools was lost.
“We’re getting a count on that and we’ve got a truck in today that will hopefully get us through the rest of this week and next week,” he said.
Around the county
Ottawa County Sheriff Jeremy Floyd said there were three water rescues involving multiple agencies.
Ottawa County Sheriff Jeremy Floyd said there was not much damage out in the county.
“I think there were a few power outages in the county involving those who are on the grid with the city. We witnessed the tornado coming down around the Dotyville area,” he said. “A deputy and I were sitting, stationed, waiting on it and it kind of touched down by where the Miami Firing Range is and then jumped over the river and touched down in that part of Miami and went northeast.
“There’s some storm debris in the county, some more severe than others, depending if they were in the direct path or not.”
The Oklahoman, a sister publication of the News-Record, also contributed information to this report.