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Day 2 of winter blast starts with treacherous roadways

Overnight lows have frozen snow-packed roads in Oklahoma. Bumpy ice is a problem this morning for drivers.
BY ROBERT MEDLEY and MICHAEL KIMBALL rmedley@opubco.com mkimball@opubco.com Modified: February 2, 2011 at 3:42 pm •  Published: February 2, 2011

Roads remain hazardous today as dangerously low temperatures continue to make travel risky across the state.

Single-digit lows and below-zero wind chills overnight turned snow-packed streets into slick, icy and bumpy surfaces.

In Oklahoma City, most interstates and highways are passable, but many ramps and intersections remain to be cleared, according to the state Transportation Department.

“The main roads are better, but residential ones are absolutely horrendous with lots of redrifting,” said Tony McCarty, supervisor for Emergency Medical Services Authority in Oklahoma City.

State Highway 152 between El Reno and Yukon remained closed this afternoon because of high snowdrifts, ODOT reported. State Highway 270 is closed between Calumet and Geary.

Highways in western Oklahoma were slick only in spots, and road-clearing crews in that part of the state have been moved to eastern Oklahoma to deal with snow-packed and icy roads there, ODOT reported.

The Will Rogers Turnpike, the section of Interstate 44 between Tulsa and the Missouri state line, remained closed this afternoon and could remain closed for some time, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol reported.

Officials warned that roads should be considered hazardous statewide and that conditions can change rapidly.

Ambulance drivers, police officers and firefighters in Oklahoma City have continued to struggle today in residential areas. Tow truck drivers continue to be in high demand.

The majority of emergency calls since the blizzard hit have been from people suffering from heart trouble or shortness of breath, McCarty said. There was one serious hypothermia case. A homeless man in his 60s found at a downtown bus stop was taken to St. Anthony Hospital on Tuesday, McCarty said. About 10 people were hurt falling down, he said.

Driveways of many homes are covered in snowdrifts, he said, so getting out of the neighborhood could be a challenge for anyone headed to work.

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