By Everett Brazil, III
The Newkirk Herald Journal
NEWKIRK — The Kay County Commissioners have enacted a disaster emergency proclamation in the wake of severe weather that impacted the county beginning May 7, paving the way for potential federal assistance for the county.
The disaster emergency proclamation was enacted during the May 20 commission meeting.
A series of storms has impacted the county, which includes severe damage to Newkirk businesses May 7 from an EF1 tornado, as well as flooding which closed roads, especially around Blackwell and Tonkawa. Storms Monday evening and overnight Tuesday rained nearly 5 in. near Newkirk, according to the Oklahoma Mesonet, leading to a swollen Arkansas River. Kaw Lake is also well above average, and most campgrounds have been closed due to high water.
According to the proclamation, there were no known injuries and fatalities reported, but “considerable damage to public and private properties.” The proclamation further declares Kay County a “disaster area,” and is entitled to aid, relief and assistance.
However, the assistance is only effective if the federal government also declares Kay County a disaster area.
“Right now, it is void. Unless the feds declare a disaster, we won’t have any assistance,” said District Two Commissioner Jason Shanks.
The proclamation is effective until 30, unless extended to continued inclement weather.
The State of Oklahoma has also listed Kay County to a State of Emergency declaration.