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Oklahomans try to get ahead of winter storm

BY MATT DINGER AND MICHAEL KIMBALL Modified: January 28, 2010 at 12:09 am •  Published: January 28, 2010

A winter storm featuring rain, ice, snow and wind is expected to move into the state today and officials are scrambling to be prepared.

The storm was expected to move into northwestern Oklahoma overnight, and rain is expected to start freezing about the lunch hour in the Oklahoma City area, the National Weather Service said.

"It’s one of those awkward situations where the Oklahoma City metro is along the freezing line,” forecaster Aaron Gleason said Wednesday evening. "It’s going to be a bit messy. The farther north and west you go, the more snow we’re expecting, and more ice and less snow in the southeast.”

The storm will arrive from the southwest. Warm southerly winds will keep temperatures above freezing near the ground until a cold front from the north drops temperatures below freezing and causes rain to turn into sleet, ice and later snow, forecaster Christine Riley said.

Executive actions
Gov. Brad Henry declared a state of emergency Wednesday for all 77 counties.

According to the release, the declaration provides a formal mechanism for local governments to seek reimbursement for recovery costs through the state’s disaster public assistance program, should conditions warrant.

The executive order is also the first step toward seeking federal aid should it be necessary.

A companion order signed by Henry waives weight and size limits on state roads. The waiver allows heavy power company vehicles to be positioned across the state. Emergency officials are concerned about widespread power outages caused by an ice storm that is expected to strike most of the state, the governor’s press office said.

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