At least five deaths can be attributed so far to the winter storm that hit Oklahoma on Thursday, officials said. Authorities hope a full day of sunlight and dry weather helped kick-start efforts to thaw the Sooner State. The deepest recorded snowfall Thursday was 14.1 inches at Will Rogers World Airport, setting daily and event records, National Weather Service meteorologist Bruce Thoren said. Northwest Oklahoma City reported about 11 inches. Ten inches were reported in Yukon, and about 9 inches was measured in Norman. Six to 8 inches were reported in the Tulsa area. Temperatures were higher than expected Friday in Oklahoma City, and a high temperature of 36 was recorded at Will Rogers World Airport, Thoren said. This morning’s low was forecast to be 14 degrees, with an expected high of 34. "It’s definitely going to remain below normal temperatures through New Year’s,” Thoren said. But skies should be mostly clear and little additional snow is expected across the state today, he said. Direct sunlight can still melt snow even when temperatures are near or below freezing, meteorologist Andrew Taylor said. The dry conditions should also allow sublimation, which is similar to evaporation of liquid water. The Oklahoma Highway Patrol reported three pedestrians were killed when they left their vehicles on state roadways during the storm and were struck by passing vehicles. A Marlow man died in Stephens County when he tried to help a stranded motorist, a Lawton man died in Comanche County when he got out of his car after a wreck and a Seminole man died in Seminole County when he got out of his stalled car. An Oklahoma City man died in Grady County when his sport-utility vehicle slid on ice and rolled on U.S. 81, troopers said. The other confirmed storm-related death also involved a traffic accident, said Michelann Ooten, spokeswoman for the state Emergency Management Department. Further details were not available Friday evening. Midwest City police found a 79-year-old woman dead on her front porch Friday morning in the 1600 block of Oelke Drive, Police Chief Brandon Clabes said. She had no signs of trauma to her body and may have died of exposure, but the medical examiner had yet to confirm a cause of death. Clabes said a neighbor called police Friday morning to say he saw the woman on the ground near her front door. The woman’s identity has not been released. Since the blizzard hit, at least 81 injury accidents have been worked by the patrol, EMSA has responded to over 100 calls, and the Oklahoma State Department of Health has recorded 482 weather-related injuries, Ooten said. Officials are urging state residents to stay off the roads unless absolutely necessary. Highways and streets remain slick and hazardous at best or impassable at worst throughout Oklahoma, though authorities said conditions are slowly improving. Ooten said all Oklahoma interstates and turnpikes were opened Friday after the patrol responded to 362 wrecks and received more than 1,000 calls for assistance. The patrol closed several highways on Friday to clear wrecks blocking the roads. About 50 percent of Oklahoma City roads were plowed by sundown Friday, city spokeswoman Kristy Yager said. About three dozen trucks are continuously plowing and salting roads in the city, and crews are expected to have 60 percent cleared by 8 a.m., with roads surrounding hospitals receive priority, she said. Several official shelters have been opened throughout the state, and many churches, private organizations and family homes have been made available to stranded motorists and travelers, Ooten said. Will Rogers World Airport, which shut down Thursday afternoon, re-opened Friday with one runway operational, city airports director Mark Kranenburg said. Travelers are discouraged from going to the airport without first checking with their airline.
Power returnsAbout 450 Oklahoma Gas and Electric Co. customers in the Oklahoma City area were still without power about 7:30 p.m. Friday, according to the OG&E Web site. More than 5,000 customers had been without power Thursday evening and more than 3,000 still had no power Friday morning. Only about 150 Lawton-area residents remained without power Friday afternoon, a spokeswoman for the Public Service Co. of Oklahoma said. About 14,000 had been without power Thursday. PSO asks any customers still without power to call (888) 218-3919.