The snowfall many Oklahoma City residents were hoping to receive on Christmas Day arrived Friday morning.
About a half inch to an inch fell in most spots, according to the National Weather Service.
Throughout Oklahoma City, city workers dropped salt on slippery patches along snow routes, city spokeswoman Kristy Yager said.
“We have only 33 trucks, and we're trying to concentrate on those snow routes,” Yager said. “Right now they're looking for slick spots. It's not a complete salt operation because it's just not necessary. The ground temperatures are warm enough on our routes.”
The snow routes are designed to come within a mile of most homes in the city, Yager said. Oklahoma City covers 621 square miles.
Crews worked to drop salt on snow routes ahead of the expected Christmas Day snow, and that work helped keep streets clean Friday, Yager said.
“The salt that we dropped over the last few days has made a difference,” she said.
Also, bridges and overpasses were brined earlier this week and Friday morning. Brining is a process of spraying a salt water mixture before the snow arrives to prevent it from sticking to streets.
The slick conditions that did exist Friday led to several people being taken to hospitals, Emergency Medical Services Authority spokeswoman Lara O'Leary said.
Between midnight and 4 p.m. Friday, EMSA received 22 calls for slips and falls; 18 people were taken to the hospital. In addition, EMSA received 10 calls for traffic accidents, leading to two people being taken to hospitals.
Yager said city crews will remain on standby for New Year's Eve and New Year's Day to help respond to dangerous conditions. The city has plenty of salt in storage, and more is on the way just in case, she said.
Downtown, preparations for Opening Night continued unfettered Friday, said Stacy Hawthorne, spokeswoman for the Arts Council of Oklahoma City.
More than 75,000 people attended the New Year's Eve celebration last year, according to the Arts Council.
Even if more snow falls before the midnight fireworks finale, Hawthorne said the downtown festivities will go on as planned.
“Almost all our venues are indoors,” she said. “People attending can always just go inside our venues and warm up and stay out of the weather. ... We just hope people will remember to dress accordingly.”
In northeast Oklahoma City, some animals at the Oklahoma City Zoo enjoyed the snow and chilly temperatures. Bison, snow leopards and red pandas all like the cold, zoo spokeswoman Tara Henson said.
Many animals like cheetahs and wild dogs have access to the outdoors, even if they choose to stay in their warm dens. More fragile animals, such as tropical birds, aren't allowed outside. The elephants have heated floors.
But the nasty weather hasn't kept visitors away, Henson said.
“Some people still want to come, especially if there's snow,” she said. “They like to see the animals in the snow.”
In Midwest City, workers prepared as usual for visitors to come for the Midwest City Holiday Lights Spectacular, city employee Megan Ebersole said. The show ends Sunday, she said.
“The weather really hasn't done anything that's stopped the lights from coming on or traffic to come through,” Ebersole said.