Some of the coldest weather of the season gripped the state Wednesday, forcing school closures, boosting the population at homeless shelters and increasing the number of emergency services calls.
The low temperature at Will Rogers World Airport dipped to 10 degrees Wednesday. Winds gusting to 30 mph dropped the wind chill to as low as minus 10 degrees.
Frigid conditions will continue, and the snow is expected to return. Accumulations of up to 2 inches were possible in central Oklahoma by Thursday morning. Temperatures were expected to stay below freezing until Saturday.
“This has been said more than a few times this winter so far, but Feb. 5 was one of its coldest days,” Gary McManus, state climatologist with the Oklahoma Climatological Survey, said Wednesday afternoon. “Lows dropped down into the single digits across much of the northwestern half of Oklahoma, with teens and 20s to the southeast.
“Tomorrow's temperatures are forecast to be even lower with lows from below zero to single digits across virtually the entire state with similar wind chill readings as today.”
Oklahoma City Public Schools closed Wednesday for the second day this week.
Although precipitation halted across the state Wednesday, emergency medical services continued to respond to weather-related injuries.
EMSA spokeswoman Lara O'Leary said there were two cold exposure calls from midnight to 2 p.m. — compared to no calls of that nature over the past few days. There were also 19 reports of slip-and-fall injuries, a count O'Leary called “extremely high.”
O'Leary cautioned drivers and pedestrians to proceed with extreme caution Thursday.