Snow fell across a wide area of drought-plagued Oklahoma on Tuesday, bringing much-needed moisture to the state but contributing to slippery conditions for motorists and pedestrians.
Brook Hensley, 39, of Edmond, was killed in a traffic accident after the car in which she was a passenger went out of control in snowy conditions on U.S. 281 about 60 miles southwest of Oklahoma City, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol said.
The Emergency Medical Services Authority in central Oklahoma responded to 24 calls regarding falls, with 19 people taken to hospitals.
EMSA reported 18 traffic accidents, with 10 people taken to hospitals.
Some churches, schools and organizations canceled afternoon and evening activities.
Winter storm system
Some areas in the Panhandle and western Oklahoma reported 5 inches of snow, while parts of Oklahoma City received as much as 3 inches, the National Weather Service reported.
“In places it's going to be hard to measure because a lot more snow fell than what's on the ground obviously because, like around here, it was so warm, it was just melting as it was hitting,” said Rick Smith of the weather service's Norman Forecast Office.
“It's almost impossible to forecast the exact locations of the greatest snowfall much in advance, but it seems like the highest totals we've heard were within the winter storm warning area in west central and northwest Oklahoma.”
Smith said Tuesday's weather resulted from a pretty typical snow-producing storm system for Oklahoma.
A cold front moved through during the weekend, bringing cooler, although not exceptionally cold, air into the area.
“At the same time, we had a storm system in the upper levels that came out of the Rocky Mountains and is moving right now south of Oklahoma,” Smith said early Tuesday afternoon.
“With the colder air in place and then the energy from that upper level storm system, those factors came together in the right spot to produce the bands of heavy snow that we saw this morning.”