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Oklahoma officials declare state of emergency for 63 counties

State officials declared a state of emergency Friday for 63 counties following severe storms and flooding across Oklahoma.

Lt. Gov. Jari Askins approved the paperwork declaring the emergency, since Gov. Brad Henry is out of state.

At least three people have died as a result of heavy rains that led to flooding.

A teenage girl was swept to her death Thursday while playing near a drainage ditch near Durant in Bryan County. Another teen died when he was swept into a south Oklahoma City creek, and an 8-year-old boy died in Pottawatomie County.

A disaster declaration is an executive action that provides a formal mechanism for local governments to seek reimbursement for recovery costs through the state's disaster public assistance program should conditions warrant. The executive order marks the first step toward seeking federal assistance should it be necessary.

Counties included in the declaration are:

Adair, Atoka, Beckham, Bryan, Caddo, Canadian, Carter, Cherokee, Choctaw, Cleveland, Coal, Comanche, Cotton, Craig, Creek, Custer, Delaware, Garvin, Grady, Greer, Harmon, Haskell, Hughes, Jackson, Jefferson, Johnston, Kingfisher, Kiowa, Latimer, Le Flore, Lincoln, Logan, Love, Marshall, Mayes, McClain, McCurtain, McIntosh, Murray, Muskogee, Noble, Nowata, Okfuskee, Oklahoma, Okmulgee, Osage, Ottawa, Pawnee, Payne, Pittsburg, Pontotoc, Pottawatomie, Pushmataha, Roger Mills, Rogers, Seminole, Sequoyah, Stephens, Tillman, Tulsa, Wagoner, Washington and Washita.

Drowning victim ID'd
The Bryan County teen who died Thursday in a drowning accident was identified Friday as Cheyenne Hope Tippie, 13, said Cherokee Ballard, spokeswoman for the state medical examiner's office. Ballard said her death was ruled an accidental drowning. The Durant girl was playing during flooding Thursday night near a drainage ditch with other teenagers when she fell and became stuck in the drain pipe.

Sheila Stogsdill, State Correspondent