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Oklahoma digs out, thaws after record snowfall

BY MICHAEL KIMBALL Published: December 26, 2009

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. know it: Winter Survival


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