MVSKOKE RESERVATION, Okla. – Principal Chief David Hill declared a state of emergency for the Muscogee (Creek) Nation on June 20.
“I have signed Executive Order No. 23-03 declaring a State of Emergency for the Muscogee (Creek) Nation in response to the storm damage on our Reservation,” Chief Hill said in the executive order.
This action allows the nation to request a formal federal declaration, and relaxes procurement procedures for emergency items.
Citizens across the reservation were affected by the heavy rainfall, tornadoes and strong winds over Father’s Day weekend on June 16-18.
The late night storms on Saturday included damaging winds up to 90 miles per hour that caused power outages, home damages, and property damage.
The Tulsa (Tvsle) area had the highest level of damage with wind gusts of up to 100 miles per hour.
According to MCN Emergency Management Director Bobby Howard, the strength of the winds were equal to an F3 tornado.
Tulsa’s Fox 23 News reported the storm qualified as a derecho. This is defined as a long-lasting squall line of severe storms that produce winds greater than 58 mph along a path longer than 240 miles.
MCN in the Dark
On Sunday, Oklahoma Gas and Electric reported nearly 76,000 customers were without power as of 11:30 a.m.
The Public Service Company of Oklahoma reported over 99,000 residents without power as of June 21. As of the time this article was initially published, the expected restoration of the power grid was June 25.
OG&E reported a peak of 139,000 outages with over 98 percent of those restored as of June 21. A complete restoration of power was expected to be finished by 10 p.m. on June 22.
East Central Electric reported all homes they served were restored by midnight on June 20. They discovered 48 broken poles that still needed to be repaired.
Howard said that he and other county emergency management teams have been providing emergency services to the affected areas since Friday night.
As some towns experienced power outages, Howard provided them with some of the nation’s large generators to power water treatment facilities. This allowed the towns to provide usable water.
Howard said he took a generator directly to the Murrow Indian Children’s Home in Muskogee.
MCN Emergency Management has provided bottled water to elderly citizens and has also even had water buffalo vehicles ready at all times for community usage.
Cooling stations have been set up around the reservation for citizens without power.
Restoring Power & MCN Assistance
As of June 20, many are still without power. According to Howard, the power companies are working at an extremely fast pace to restore power to their respective areas.
“It could be until Tuesday (June 27) before everything is back up,” Howard said.
Howard remains in contact with companies multiple times a day to provide service time estimates to citizens.
The Nation has provided program assistance for citizens experiencing power outages lasting over 12 hours. The assistance will provide $500 for groceries.
MCN Social Services has other programs available, depending on the needs and eligibility of the citizen.
For those that are in need of emergency services, Howard claims the best thing to do is to contact their local emergency manager for the fastest service.
Howard and other managers provide direct emergency assistance to communities through the great working relationship they share.
“We are a happy team of 11 people,” Howard said, claiming that this type of job requires coordination in order to get it done properly.
A fatality was confirmed as a result of the storm where a man died after a tree fell on his home in Creek County.
For those that are in need of individual disaster assistance, contact the MCN Social Services program at: (918) 549-2880.
For emergency arbor care needs (downed trees on power lines or on homes) call: (918) 752-8577.