Oklahoma City_In the wake of deadly tornadoes Tuesday that swept through sections of the state, Gov. Brad Henry has declared a state of emergency for 17 Oklahoma counties.
A tornado in the Carter County town of Lone Grove killed eight people and injured dozens more. Twisters caused extensive damage in several Oklahoma communities, including Edmond, Oklahoma City, Pawnee, Wilson and Springer.
The counties included in the declaration are: Canadian, Carter, Cleveland, Garvin, Jefferson, Lincoln, Logan, Love, Murray, Oklahoma, Pawnee, Payne, Pontotoc, Pottawatomie, Nowata, Osage and Washington. More counties can be added if conditions warrant.
Gov. Henry said state officials are poised to provide all eligible assistance.
"The thoughts and prayers of all Oklahomans are with those who suffered grievous loss in the wake of yesterday's tornadoes," Gov. Henry said. "The impacted communities need help quickly, and I intend to ensure that they receive any and all assistance at our disposal.
"The state of emergency declaration strengthens our efforts to help those areas, but it also serves as a first step toward seeking federal assistance."
The State Emergency Operations Plan has been activated to ensure that all state resources are available to assist in the recovery effort. Under the declaration, state agencies are allowed to make emergency purchases and acquisitions needed to expedite the response to the disaster.
The Lone Grove tornado is the deadliest in Oklahoma since 1999. On May 3 of that year, tornadoes in the central part of the state resulted in more than 40 deaths