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Oklahoma's heavy, wet snow caused worry in the metro area and thanks in the farmland

Rick Smith, of the National Weather Service's Norman office, said Tuesday's weather resulted from a pretty typical snow-producing storm system for Oklahoma.
By BRYAN PAINTER Modified: February 12, 2013 at 8:19 pm •  Published: February 12, 2013


For some, the snow — and in some areas, rain and snow — was at least a little something in a time of ongoing drought.

Alan Jett, 56, a rancher in the Slapout area in the eastern Oklahoma Panhandle, said he had probably received about 5 inches of good, wet snow by midday Tuesday.

And for that, he said, he was extremely thankful.

He said this type of snow is good because it wasn't going to blow off, it was melting, bringing the much-needed moisture. That area is in among the 40 percent of the state in exceptional drought, the worst of the U.S. Drought Monitor categories.

“Every drop of moisture that we can get in this deal is very much appreciated, no doubt about that,” he said. “I've never seen anything like this. I've heard about it in the '50s and the '30s, but I've never seen anything like it.

“If we don't grow grass, then we can't run cattle, and if we don't run cattle, we have no way of making a living.”

Gary McManus, of the Oklahoma Climatological Survey, said it was good that this snow was the type that could soak in where it fell rather than drifting and leaving bare spots.

McManus said the standard rule is that about 10 inches of snow equals 1 inch of water. However that can vary depending on conditions. On Feb. 9-10, 2011, 27 inches of snow fell at Spavinaw, an Oklahoma record for 24-hour snowfall.

“It ended up being 1.26 inches of liquid when melted down,” McManus said. “It was extremely cold. It was the kind of snow they see up north a lot.”

What's ahead?

Lows early Wednesday are expected to go below freezing, thus leaving the possibility for slick areas, Smith said. He added that portions of the state that had deeper snow amounts on the ground will see that influence their temperatures Wednesday.

However, Smith also said that in the Oklahoma City metro area, temperatures are expected to be back in the 40s and close to 50.