Oklahoma agencies were prepared for winter storm

Oklahomans heeded warnings and stayed at home during Tuesday's winter storm, unlike during the Christmas Eve 2009 blizzard when people felt pressure to travel and run errands.
BY BRYAN PAINTER bpainter@opubco.com Published: February 2, 2011

Memories of the Christmas Eve 2009 storm have been talked about a lot in the past few days.

That blizzard dumped about a foot of windblown snow in portions of central Oklahoma, much like the storm that hit the region Tuesday.

But this time, holiday travel wasn't a factor.

“What you don't have are the people who are determined to get to the mall or to take that trip to grandma's house for their holiday event,” said Michelann Ooten, spokeswoman for the state Emergency Management Department.

Also helpful, Ooten said, is that so many agencies are working together and were working together in advance of the storm. Planning began Thursday in many cases.

In the state emergency operations center, located about 25 feet below ground north of the state Capitol, representatives from many of these agencies sit next to each other. For example, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol is sitting next to the Oklahoma National Guard. In some cases in northeastern Oklahoma, the National Guard has assisted OHP with stranded motorists.

Also, the Federal Emergency Management Agency came in early on this event, Ooten said. Thus, they had generators, meals, cots, bottled water and other supplies ready. Those supplies had not been needed as of midday Tuesday.

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