Significant snowfall in the Oklahoma City area is mostly done for the day, but the storm continues to track across northeastern Oklahoma and bury the region under another blanket of heavy snow.
Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma City had about 6 inches of snow at noon, and snowfall there had mostly ended by that time, weather service meteorologist Ty Judd said. Most areas of central and western Oklahoma had at least 4 inches of snow, with higher recordings in northern Oklahoma.
Northeast Oklahoma has been hit hardest. Jay in Delaware County had 25 inches as of about 10 a.m., which is the highest reading so far in the state, weather service meteorologist Robert Darby said. Other areas of northeastern Oklahoma had between 18 and 24 inches by 10 a.m., and Tulsa had about 5 inches.
Most of north-central and northwestern Oklahoma had 10 to 15 inches of snow by 10 a.m., weather service meteorologist Forrest Mitchell said. Snowfall there is also mostly finished for the day.
High winds could create blowing snow in the afternoon and evening even after the snow stops, according to the weather service.
Temperatures pose danger to stranded motorists
Daytime high temperatures in the Oklahoma City area and elsewhere in the state will likely stay in the teens at the highest, Judd said. Wind chill factors will remain below zero most of the day throughout Oklahoma.
Officials are urging motorists who must venture out into the snow to bundle up and take extra blankets to stay warm in case they become stranded, Judd said.
But better weather news applies to the days ahead. Daytime high temperatures statewide are expected to rise into the 20s on Thursday, the 30s on Friday, the 40s on Saturday, the 50s on Sunday and the 60s early next week, according to the weather service.
A winter storm warning remains active across most of Oklahoma until 6 p.m.
The state Health Department reported 80 storm-related injuries as of 7 a.m., according to the state Emergency Management Department. The injuries included 63 falls, 14 from transportation-related causes, two from cutting or piercing incidents and one instance of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Drier snow affected easily by wind
The snow formed high in the atmosphere at extremely cold temperatures, and an overall lack of moisture meant snow flakes were relatively dry, Judd said.
“It's the kind of snow that you can maybe take a broom out and get it off your driveway that way,” Judd said. “Or maybe wait for the wind to blow it off.”
But the snow has drifted easily and tends to pile up in certain areas, he said.
Roads slick and hazardous
Roads throughout the state have been reported to be slick, snow-packed and hazardous with drifting adding to the problems, the state Emergency Management Department reported.
A newspaper carrier in northwest Oklahoma City, who delivered the paper on time, said despite drifting and fresh snow in the streets, the lack of higher wind gusts this morning has made driving easier than during the blizzard of last week.
Officials are discouraging unnecessary travel today. The roads are especially treacherous in northeastern Oklahoma, which had not recovered from last week's storm.
Plows pushed last week's snow about as high as it could go on the shoulders of many roads, so there's little or no room for crews to push the new snow off the road, Oklahoma Highway Patrol Capt. Don Stockton said. But state Transportation Department and Oklahoma Turnpike Authority crews are keeping most roads open by plowing at least one lane in each direction.
Teams work to help stranded motorists
The state Emergency Management Department has worked with state troopers, ODOT, the Turnpike Authority and the Oklahoma National Guard to coordinate emergency workers to help stranded motorists.
More than 275 National Guard troops gathered in armories in 14 cities Tuesday night, officials said. State troopers and transportation personnel staged nearby.
The National Guard troops have been deployed to the Will Rogers Turnpike, U.S. 75 between Tulsa and the Kansas state line, U.S. 60 in Osage County and on U.S. 412 between Tulsa and the Arkansas state line to assist motorists who called 911.
Motorists who need help are encouraged to call 911 but remain in their vehicles until help arrives.
Oklahoma City-area forecast
• Today: Snow and areas of blowing snow before noon, then areas of blowing snow and a chance of snow between noon and 3 p.m. High near 19 with wind chill values as low as -9. North winds 15 to 17 mph, gusting to 24 mph.
• Tonight: Mostly clear. Low around -3 with wind chill values as low as -10. North-northwest winds 5 to 14 mph, gusting to 20 mph.
• Thursday: Sunny. High near 29 with wind chill values as low as -12. Calm winds becoming west-southwest 5 to 8 mph.
• Thursday night: Mostly clear. Low around 12. Southwest winds 6 to 8 mph.
• Friday: Sunny. High near 34. West-southwest winds 7 to 9 mph.
• Friday night: Clear. Low around 21.
• Saturday: Sunny. High near 48.
• Saturday night: Mostly clear. Low around 31.
• Sunday: Sunny. High near 57.
• Sunday night: Mostly clear. Low around 35.
• Monday: Sunny. High near 59.
• Monday night: Mostly clear. Low around 34.
• Tuesday: Mostly sunny. High near 62.
Contributing: Staff Writers Bryan Painter and Robert Medley