The city of Tulsa continues to be under an emergency declaration in response to winter weather - the Tulsa Area Emergency Management Agency (TAEMA) Emergency Operations Plan is being followed. TAEMA’s Emergency Operations Center is now fully activated.
Snow Operations Update
City crews are utilizing group plowing to clear the snow that has fallen across the area and will continue to work throughout the duration of this event to get snow cleared from arterial roadways. Plows are the main device being used today, as applying salt would make it easy for the plows to push it off of the roadways. Salt also does not activate nearly as well with temperatures below 10 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you have to be driving, please be mindful of City crews and snow plows.
It’s important for anyone who will be driving in these conditions to:
There have been instances of private businesses and their contractors using snow plows in parking lots, pushing snow out into public streets. This should not occur, as it makes the City’s job tougher. Property owners should designate a spot on their properties where the snow can be piled.
Tulsa Animal Welfare Update
Tulsa Animal Welfare (TAW) will be closed to the public both today and tomorrow due to inclement weather. TAW officers will respond to emergency calls only, such as cruelty and bite calls. There are no appointments to see animals today or tomorrow, except for residents needing to drop off animals for an emergency. In the case of such an emergency, please call TAW at (918) 596-8001.
Waterline Break Updates
This morning, the City was working on more than 40 waterline breaks. Due to the extremely cold temperatures, this is not unexpected. Eight crews will be working on these breaks today, along with an additional six crews from the City’s emergency contractor. Four crews will stay and work overnight to address waterline breaks as they happen.
The City has asked crews to frequently rotate and warm up in their vehicles whenever needed. Some repairs will take longer due to the cold temperatures.
Drivers should be aware of areas where there are orange cones and other traffic devices, as many of these are areas in the road where the waterline was repaired, but the road has not yet been repaired. When temperatures rebound, City crews will be able to fully repair the street when asphalt and other materials are able to be used.
Homeless Shelter Funding Update
In the last five days, Tulsans have rallied to support their vulnerable neighbors, raising more than $100,000 and counting, with the philanthropic community now having contributed more than $1 million to combat homelessness. Now, Housing Solutions has set the bar higher, asking for an additional $1 million in the next 60 days to support those experiencing homelessness.
To help meet this goal, Mayor Bynum will bring a budget amendment to the Tulsa City Council to join the effort and contribute $130,000 in CARES Act funds to Housing Solutions. These funds will pay for hotel stays that have proven to save the lives of our unsheltered neighbors.
Over the coming months, the funds will keep people in hotels as we work with A Way Home for Tulsa partners to achieve permanent housing. The fund will also help people with things like rent, security deposits and other housing-related costs.
To date, the City has provided more than $3.8 million in CARES Act funds in combatting homelessness.
To donate or send checks to help reach Housing Solutions’ $2 million goal, visit: https://secure.givelively.org/donate/the-center-for-housing-solutions-inc/give-hope
Public Service Company of Oklahoma (PSO) is asking all customers to implement energy conservation measures to mitigate the risk of worsening conditions with power supplies in the region.
Customers can help reduce the risk of widespread and longer-lasting outages by temporarily reducing the amount of energy they use. PSO is asking its customers to turn down thermostats and reduce usage of large appliances to limit the use of electricity, so that no further measures are necessary.
Residents should use energy needed for personal safety and to protect against property damage, but minor adjustments to thermostats and other measures can make a significant difference to the system.
For more information on cold weather safety and energy conservation, visit www.psoklahoma.com.
Gas Usage Update
Oklahoma Natural Gas (ONG) is asking customers to be mindful of their gas usage and is encouraging people to take measures to limit unneeded usage. Due to the unprecedented weather conditions, ONG is seeing potential for stressed gas supply.
Some easy ways residents can conserve gas include:
For more ways on how to conserve gas, visit www.oklahomanaturalgas.com.
Refuse & Recycling Update
To keep City crews safe, there will be no refuse or recycling services today. Additionally, there will be no bulky waste services through Thursday.
It’s asked residents be patient during this time. The City will make every attempt to get caught up once weather conditions improve.
The City will re-evaluate this evening in anticipation of higher temperatures forecasted for Tuesday. The City will begin servicing refuse first when temperatures rise above 10 degrees. If crews are able to pick up on Tuesday, they will operate on a holiday schedule, with Monday customers being picked up on Tuesday, Tuesday customers being picked up on Wednesday, and so on.
Customers who have extra trash that will not fit inside the refuse bin can place a reasonable amount of bagged trash outside and next to their gray trash cart. Only trash, not recycling, should be placed in your gray trash cart or on the curb.
Additionally, the City of Tulsa Mulch Site is also closed until further notice.
Check Your Pipes
Since the onset of the cold weather, City crews have responded to more than 50 residential frozen water pipe calls. The extreme cold can freeze your water pipes, so it’s important to stay aware and take steps to protect your pipes and your property.
To protect your water pipes from extreme cold, you should:
Additional tips on protecting your water pipes can be found online.
Freezing Water Safety
Residents should STAY OFF freezing bodies of water, as the ice isn’t thick enough to safely support someone. Parents should take extra caution to ensure children are not trying to play on things like frozen pools, ponds, lakes and streams. Things like ice fishing and ice skating are not safe in these conditions on bodies of water that have just frozen over.
Winter Weather Preparedness
It is important to prepare now and plan for several days of snow and extreme cold. If you have to get out, please make sure your vehicle is prepared with a winter car kit and your gas tank is full. TFD recommends against travel in these winter weather conditions, as the temperatures are potentially lethal if you aren’t properly prepared. If you have to get out, make sure you bring extra clothing and bring a cell phone that is fully charged. For more winter weather preparation tips, visit: www.ready.gov/winter-weather
Residents who do not have to go outside should stay indoors. With temperatures dipping below zero and windchills well below zero, it only takes 15-30 minutes for exposed skin to develop frostbite. It’s vitally important to wear multiple layers when outside and cover any exposed skin with things like gloves, hats, face masks, goggles, etc. If you will be traveling, even for a short distance, bring extra clothing and blankets with you. In the chance your car breaks down or gets stuck and you have to walk, being unprepared could be deadly.
Check On the Elderly
Don’t wait for your elderly family members or neighbors to ask for help. Be proactive and ask what you can do to help. Call or check in on them to make sure they have adequate and safe heating sources in their home. If absolutely necessary, ask what errands, if any, you could help them with.
Snow and ice-covered driveways often present a slipping hazard, so helping your neighbors get their mail is advised, as well as helping them shovel snow off of their driveways.
Check Your Smoke Detectors
TFD asks residents to check smoke detectors to ensure they are operating properly. It’s also recommended residents purchase and install a Carbon Monoxide detector if they do not currently have one, as many heaters run off of natural gas.
Space Heater & Heating Safety
Though space heaters can be useful, they can be very dangerous if not utilized in a safe manner.
Space heater usage guidelines:
Please do not use ovens or stoves as heating devices, especially appliances that utilize gas. These can create a carbon monoxide danger in your home.
If you lose power and plan to utilize a portable generator, the generator should always be operated on the exterior of your home. It is important to keep them away from windows or any other places that would facilitate the fumes entering your home.
TAEMA remains in constant contact with area homeless shelters. All shelters report they have beds currently available. There are multiple outreach teams working to communicate the threat of upcoming weather to the encampments in Tulsa, and are attempting to convince as many of the unhoused population to seek shelter leading into the weekend as possible. TAEMA is working to provide material assistance to shelter operations to ensure they have the ability to continue to serve the community.
Housing Solutions, the City of Tulsa and community partners are working to get those experiencing homelessness inside during this cold snap.
The City is urging those who are outside to come inside without fear of losing their things – this has been a main concern among many who continue to choose to stay outside. The City and its community partners are not cleaning up homeless encampments or taking people’s possessions if they are left outside at this time.
Teams across the City are continuing to frequent known encampments and encourage people to come inside. If you see someone who you think needs assistance in the cold, please fill out this form so outreach personnel can make contact.
Yesterday afternoon, the City was able to access an encampment in south Tulsa utilizing a drone to help reach individuals. Due to these efforts, a dozen additional people were able to secure a safe and warm shelter. Outreach teams have now responded to every known encampment within the city and have been able to provide shelter to every single person seeking warm shelter. Yesterday evening, outreach teams were able to secure shelter for every person at an encampment located on West Brady St. under the I-244 bridge as well.
Some residents have tried to purchase fire pits and firewood and have been unloading these items at encampments, discouraging those experiencing homelessness to seek shelter. These efforts are also causing fire dangers. We are asking residents to allow the outreach teams to do their job so everyone can stay safe and seek shelter during this extreme weather as hypothermia and frostbite can occur in as little as 30 minutes.
There are multiple shelters available to those experiencing homelessness. Housing Solutions is working to get anyone who needs shelter into a local shelter at this time.
Right now, Tulsa shelters in operation include:
Tulsa Parks Updates
Tulsa Parks community centers will be closed Monday due to winter weather. Additionally, Oxley Nature Center will also be closed on Monday. Student Support Camps, which serve students who are practicing distance learning at various community centers, will not be in operation on Monday due to the holiday.
Due to inclement weather, Inspection Services is only performing critical utilities inspections, such as repairs made due to removed gas, electric and water meters. To schedule an inspection for critical utility repairs, contact Phil Bradley at (918) 798-8031, Steve Malugani at (918) 519-8746, or Bob Kolibas at (918) 261-9129.
Please note that after hours inspections will be charged as overtime inspections billed at $260.
City of Tulsa Snow & Ice Response
The City of Tulsa is responsible for clearing snow and ice from the Gilcrease Expressway, L.L. Tisdale Expressway and all arterial (main) streets. Other highway segments in Tulsa are the responsibility of the Oklahoma Department of Transportation.
After a snow or ice storm begins, the goal is to make expressways and arterial streets safe and passable as soon as possible. These resources are available to attain this goal:
Crews are assigned to 35 specific routes totaling 1,770 lane-miles, which is approximately the same distance as driving from Tulsa to San Francisco. Spreading and plowing routes are prioritized based on traffic counts.
The following link includes the route map the City uses in its winter weather response: www.cityoftulsa.org/winterpreparedness
Additionally, a list of frequently asked questions on the City’s snow and ice response can be found online.
Want to receive updates on emergency weather information and create a disaster plan for your family? Download the free Tulsa Ready App, compatible with Android and iOS systems. Follow the City of Tulsa on Twitter for updates during winter weather season, @cityoftulsagov.