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Responding in adverse conditions

Chris Meyers

Co-op line crews worked diligently in adverse conditions to ensure power was safely restored to each consumer-member. Collectively, co-ops incurred an estimated $2.75 million in infrastructure damages.

The National Weather Service (NWS) Norman, Oklahoma, recently shared preliminary tornado facts and stats for the month of May 2019. The NWS Tulsa also shared some data. Here are a few highlights:
  • NWS Norman reports 61 tornadoes in Oklahoma in the month of May. There were a total 83 tornadoes as of May 30, 2019 in the year.
  • NWS Norman reports there was a tornado every day in the state from May 20 through May 25.
  • NWS Norman issued 84 tornado warnings in the month of May; NWS Tulsa issued 75 warnings in May.
  • NWS Tulsa reports 48 total tornadoes for the month of May. This sets the record for most tornadoes in May; the previous record was 39 tornadoes in 2010.
The series of tornadoes and severe weather brought about extreme flooding conditions in some areas of the state, with the most impacted areas in northeastern, portions of central, and northern Oklahoma. On May 25, President Trump approved an emergency declaration for 10 counties in northeastern Oklahoma. On June 1, the White House approved a Major Disaster declaration for Muskogee, Tulsa and Wagoner counties.

Electric co-op line crews showed resiliency and collaboration in the face of trying circumstances. In a display of cooperative spirit, Lake Region Electric Cooperative (LREC) based in Hulbert, Oklahoma, collaborated with OG&E to re-route power through a tie-line to temporarily restore power to the city of Braggs in eastern Oklahoma. This collaboration enabled citizens in Braggs to have power sooner while OG&E worked on needed repairs.

Electric co-ops are grounded in the principle of cooperation. Mutual aid crews came to the aid of sister cooperatives during this time as well. Crews from TCEC based in Hooker, Oklahoma, Canadian Valley Electric Cooperative in Seminole, Oklahoma, and Oklahoma Electric Cooperative in Norman, Oklahoma, assisted line crews in Vinita-based Northeast Oklahoma Electric Cooperative service territory. Additionally, mutual aid crews from Alfalfa Electric Cooperative based in Cherokee, Oklahoma, along with a contract construction crew from Rural Electric Cooperative based in Lindsay, Oklahoma, assisted in the repair and restoration efforts at LREC.

Co-ops are still dealing with the aftermath of these extreme weather events, ensuring their systems are built back in a safe, affordable, efficient and reliable manner. We commend our line crews for rising to the occasion, as they always do, to ensure your lights stay on.