It's a cold, but quiet beginning weatherwise today in Oklahoma, but forecasters say another round of winter weather is bearing down on the southern Plains.
The National Weather Service says heavy precipitation is expected within the next 24 hours over southeastern Oklahoma, which was spared from the recent ice storm. Most of the anticipated precipitation should be rain.
While most of the state is expectecd to get a break from the ice and snow on Thursday, forecasters warn that the next round may include accumulations of snow, some 4 to 6 inches for a good part of the state beginning Friday night.
The upper-level distrubance affecting the state should move eastward today and tonight across the area, providing lift that will generate occasional rain or mixed precipitation. Despite continued cold conditions at the surface, a layer of warm, moist and weakly unstable air aloft may allow isolated, elevated thunderstorms to form over parts of the southeastern half of the state.
Patchy light rain may mix with or change to light snow, sleet, or freezing rain at times this morning over the northwestern two-thirds of the state.
Amounts are not expected to be significant, but, with surface temperatures remaining near or slightly below freezing, there could be some localized slick spots on some roads.
Highs today are expected to range from the mid-30s to near 50. It should be mostly cloudy tonight, with a slight chance of rain and light freezing rain and lows from the low 20s to upper 30s.
It should be mostly sunny Thursday, with highs in the upper 30s to upper 50s.
The Oklahoma City area forecast is for cloudy skies today, with light sleet and thunderstorms during the morning. There is a 60 percent chance of rain in the afternoon. Highs will be in the mid-30s.
Tonight should be partly cloudy, with a 20 percent chance of light freezing rain and lows in the mid-20s.
It is expected to be partly cloudy Thursday, with highs in the mid-40s.
For the most part, roads in Oklahoma are passable. But to be sure of any area in quest, call the Department of Public Safety hotline at (888) 425-2385 or go to www.dps.state.ok.us and click “Oklahoma Weather-Related Conditions” under Resources.
For Oklahoma road conditions, call the Department of Public Safety hotline at (888) 425-2385 or go to www.dps.state.ok.us and click “Oklahoma Weather-Related Conditions” under Resources.
For road conditions in other states:— Arkansas: (800) 245-1672
— Colorado: (303) 639-1111
— Kansas: (866) 511-5368
— Missouri: (800) 222-6400
— New Mexico: (800) 432-4269
— Texas: (800) 452-9292
A federal emergency declaration remains in place for all 77 Oklahoma counties and authorizes federal resources to assist state and local governments as they continue to respond to the ice storm. All 77 counties also remain under a state of emergency, and the state emergency operations center remains activated.
The declaration delivers doesn't authorize reimbursement funds for state and local government response and recovery work. It only allows Oklahoma and the federal government to share costs for the use of federal resources.
Lt. Gov. Jari Askins said the state will push for reimbursement authorization and additional aid.
“Cities and counties will need all the help they can as they clear debris and make repairs. We will also move quickly to seek aid for individual citizens and business,” she said.
Askins has been acting governor while Henry has been out of state. Henry was scheduled to return to Oklahoma this morning.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have sent industrial-sized generators and bottled water.Generators have been delivered to Beggs, Broken Arrow, Nowata, Paden and Vinita.
They are primarily to support shelters and keep water treatment plants on-line, not for residential use. Cots, blankets and meals, ready-to-eat arrived on Tuesday.
"This is without question the worst ice storm in state history and it will require a historic response from all levels of government," Gov. Brady Henry said on Tuesday in a press release. "We will do whatever it takes to help Oklahomans rebuild and recover from this devastating event."
Statewide power outages are about 497,500 homes and businesses, the Oklahoma Corporation Commission reported.
Officials said it could be a week to 10 days before power is fully restored.
"We're relying on people to look after each other," Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett said. "At the end of the day, this comes down to the strength of your people. ... People who have electricity ought to be sharing it with people who don't."
As of 5:45 a.m. today, OG&E reports 200,399 customers without power, including 181,651 in the Oklahoma City area, 986 in Beggs, 556 in Bethel Acres, 1,309 in Bixby, 3,449 in Bristow, 2,870 in Drumright, 87 in Earlsboro, 285 in Glenpool, 195 in Jennings, 1,884 in Kellyville, 107 in Kiefer, 127 in Maramec, 346 in Mounds, 369 in Oilton, 296 in Perkins, 5,558 in Sapulpa and 324 in Seminole.
OG&E has implemented customer walk-up stations at these locations:
— Bethany: Homeland grocery store, 7101 NW 23
— Bristow: SpiritBank, 601 N Main
— Drumright: William’s Discount Foods, 720 E Broadway
— Midwest City: Target, 7601 E Reno
— Norman: Homeland grocery store, 1724 W Lindsey
— Oklahoma City: Homeland grocery store, 9225 N May
— Oklahoma City: Homeland grocery store, 4301 S May
— Sapulpa: Westlake Ace Hardware, 715 S Main
Customers who have a damaged electric meter base, where the electrical meter is placed outside houses, the customers are required to hire an electrician to repair the meter base before OG& E will restore power.
OKC Red Cross