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Snow forces closure of schools, colleges, state agencies in Oklahoma City area

by Silas Allen Modified: December 6, 2013 at 8:12 pm •  Published: December 7, 2013

HOW MUCH snow does it take to close public schools, universities, some businesses and many state agencies? About 3 inches.

That's how much snowfall the Oklahoma City metro area received by early Friday before the storm passed through, according to the National Weather Service.

A city fleet of trucks dumped a salty mix on streets and plowed some, but many motorists who did venture out found slippery conditions.

A statewide emergency declaration remained in place Friday.

Gov. Mary Fallin signed an executive order Thursday declaring a 30-day state of emergency in all 77 counties in Oklahoma.

The declaration allows state agencies to make emergency purchases related to disaster relief, and also represents a first step toward seeking federal disaster assistance, if necessary.

Snowy and icy conditions contributed to at least two deaths statewide.

A 5-year-old boy died in Muskogee when his mother lost control of her van, and an unidentified homeless man was found dead under a highway overpass in Oklahoma City.

State offices were operating with skeleton crews in Oklahoma County and elsewhere. Department of Human Services offices in 52 counties were closed or operated on reduced services, and Oklahoma State University, the University of Oklahoma and the University of Central Oklahoma canceled classes.

‘Blood emergency'

Oklahoma Blood Institute officials declared a “blood emergency” Friday, saying the wintry conditions caused travel difficulties, leading to declines in blood donations and blood drive cancellations.

“Thursday, we had more than 450 fewer donors than planned across the state,” institute President Richard Armitage said in a statement. “With a typical supply of three to five days, it only takes a storm like this to put us into an emergency status.”

Dealing with the aftermath

Michael Scotten, a senior forecaster with the National Weather Service office in Norman, said the Oklahoma City metro area saw 3 to 4 inches of snow Thursday and Friday morning. Cold temperatures will continue through the weekend, with highs in the teens and 20s on Saturday and Sunday, Scotten said.

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by Silas Allen
General Assignment/Breaking News Reporter
Silas Allen is a news reporter for The Oklahoman. He is a Missouri native and a 2008 graduate of the University of Missouri.
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