Road crews and emergency responders braced for a major winter storm expected to bring blizzard conditions to much of the state beginning Sunday night.
Most of western and northern Oklahoma is under a blizzard warning through 6 a.m. Tuesday, and central parts of the state, including the Oklahoma City metro area, are under a winter storm warning through the same time frame.
According to the National Weather Service, Oklahoma City could see one to five inches of snow and heavy winds which could cause drifting and reduced visibility. A northwestern swath of the state is expected to get eight to 10 inches of snow with accumulations of 10 to 12 inches in northwestern Oklahoma cities such as Alva and Woodward.
The storm is expected to start with rain, turning to snow overnight in Oklahoma City, forecasters said. The storm is expected to move southeasterly through the state Monday and persist through Tuesday morning, according to the weather service.
“Things could get bad on the morning commute. That's about the time of the changeover. And it could be worse for the drive home. We're recommending to avoid travel for tomorrow, if you can,” John Pike, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Norman, said Sunday.
“We don't really have any ice in the forecast, a quick change of rain into snow instead, so that's probably the best thing about it,” Pike said.
“We're looking at temperatures dropping very rapidly when the cold front arrives, but we are forecast to get up to 42 degrees tomorrow. That would be until about 9 or 10 a.m., and that's when we'll start dropping so that's when the high will likely be. After that, we'll continue dropping pretty rapidly,” he said.
“By Tuesday morning, we're looking at a low in the upper 20s and of course there's going to be a windchill too, around the 20s,” Pike said.
Northwest Oklahoma also saw the worst of last week's winter weather, with some areas getting a foot of snow or more.
State and local road crews are on alert, officials said, and emergency responders urge people to prepare for a life-threatening blizzard.
Pike said Interstate 40 westbound to the Texas state line will receive the worst conditions of major thoroughfares, but Interstate 35 north of the metro could be troublesome as well.
Red Cross spokesman Ken Garcia said the agency is prepared to send volunteers wherever they might be needed in the state.