Gov. Mary Fallin added Sequoyah and LeFlore Counties to the list of counties where a state of emergency has been declared, bringing the total number of counties under a state of emergency declaration to 44, Steve Rutherford, Sequoyah County Emergency Management director, said Friday. The action is a result of the severe storms which raked the state last weekend.
Rutherford said he submitted $350,000 in damages to public roads and buildings to the state, and the county was added to the list Wednesday.
"They (the state) are doing assessments now and will be here this week," Rutherford said. He said the state will inspect damage to the county courthouse and 911 call center, and review photos of road damages. The call center was struck by lightning, but, with assistance, was operational again very quickly. Rutherford said the county assessor's officer was flooded by the heavy rains when water apparently ran into the office from the parking lot. The county jail also received some water damage, he added.
Rutherford said he expects Sequoyah County damages to increase as assessments takes place. "We'll continue to file the paper work," he said, adding that because of the extensive damage throughout the state, the state may also ask for assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which is U.S. government aid. The state must meet a certain damage estimate to apply for FEMA assistance.
"We may reach that goal because there are so many counties involved," Rutherford said.
Rutherford said the storms could have been worse, and resulted in several water rescues but no local fatalities. He said one or two vehicles are still abandoned in high water, but the water level is receding and most vehicles have been recovered.
Damages in LeFlore County were estimated at $500,000, and one drowning was reported there.
Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director
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