Oklahoma City saw some ice and snow Christmas Day, but not the 6 inches or more predicted by weather forecasters as late as Christmas Eve.
“We had a bunch of dry air come in here and shut off the snow in the central part of the state. Our snow pretty much stopped, and we don't expect any more for the rest of the night,” said Daryl Williams, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Norman, said Tuesday afternoon.
Southwestern portions of the state spent Christmas under a blizzard warning, but Oklahoma City was let off the hook when a winter storm warning was canceled hours early by the weather service.
A blizzard warning was canceled about sundown Tuesday for Beckham, Caddo, Carter, Comanche, Cotton, Custer, Garvin, Grady, Greer, Jackson, Jefferson, Kiowa, Love, Murray, Stephens and Tillman counties The weather service estimated 4 to 6 inches of snow to fall in those areas, with a swath from Hobart to Ardmore estimated to receive more than that.
Light snow, blowing snow and freezing rain still were being reported in and around Lawton and Ardmore on Tuesday afternoon, Williams said.
The winter storm warning was canceled midafternoon, Williams said, but a wind chill advisory is in effect until 9 a.m. Wednesday for western Oklahoma, including Cleveland, Logan and Oklahoma counties.
Temperatures statewide are predicted to stay in the lower 20s and upper 30s Wednesday. The forecast high temperature in Oklahoma City is 31 degrees, with temperatures falling into the teens overnight.
Ice and snow didn't leave travel routes unscathed, and crews in Oklahoma City worked through Christmas to keep the roads and runways clear.
Oklahoma City streets manager Mike Love Sr. said 32 trucks began salting roads continuously at 2:30 a.m. and will continue to do so until road conditions are not hazardous.
“Our crews are working 12-hour shifts for a 24-hour operation, and we'll keep doing it until the white stuff is gone,” Love said.
“I would say put another log on the fire, enjoy your families and leave us plenty of room to do our job,” Love said.
A handful of other scheduled flights were canceled at Will Rogers World Airport, but crews applied chemicals to Oklahoma City runways overnight to keep the airport open, spokeswoman Karen Carney said.
But travelers must also consider conditions at airports in other states and should check ahead before heading to the airport, she said.
One fatal wreck and numerous injury accidents were reported Tuesday, including a 21-car pileup in the westbound lanes of Interstate 40 near Reno Avenue in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper Betsy Randolph said.
About 10:35 a.m., Amanda Sue Goodman, 28, of Woodward, was killed in a crash on U.S. 412, just east of State Highway 8 in Major County. The driver of the vehicle she was riding in lost control on the snow-covered road and struck a tractor-trailer, troopers reported. The driver and a 4-year-old girl also were hurt in the crash.
The pileup in Oklahoma City began about 3 a.m. when a tractor-trailer jackknifed on I-40 on a bridge over the Oklahoma River, Randolph said.
Other vehicles hit the rig, and then other rigs slid into them, sandwiching the vehicles, she said.
“Some of them, it took the entire top of the car off, like they slid under a semi,” Randolph said.
The pileup included 10 separate crashes with 21 vehicles, including three tractor-trailers, she said. Several people were taken to hospitals, but Randolph didn't have details on their injuries or conditions.
The patrol shut down I-40 near its junction with Interstate 35 for more than five hours and diverted traffic while troopers worked to clear the accident.
I-40 also was closed near Clinton in western Oklahoma because of overturned vehicles there and in eastbound lanes about 10 miles east of Shawnee because of a jackknifed tractor-trailer.
All of Interstate 40, which bisects the state from east to west, was slick because rain was freezing as soon as it hit the pavement, Randolph said. Traffic was light because most people already had reached their holiday destinations, “but the ones that are out there are having trouble staying on the road,” she said.
The patrol reported slick and hazardous roads across much of the state Tuesday afternoon, including the Oklahoma City metro area.
Portions of northern Oklahoma and the Panhandle were slick in spots, troopers said.
“We strongly discourage people from traveling since there are potentially hazardous situations statewide. If you absolutely have to get out, be sure to decrease your speed,” Randolph said.
Contributing: Staff Writers
Matt Dinger and Nasreen Iqbal and The Associated Press