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Winter storm leaves its mark on Oklahoma

From staff reports Modified: January 30, 2010 at 9:38 am •  Published: January 30, 2010

In Cleveland County, eight inches was recorded in Stella and seven inches was reported at the National Weather Service in Norman. Four inches fell in Yukon, Williams said.

Roads and highways across the state were slick and hazardous Friday, and transportation officials discouraged travel.

Oklahoma City street crews were working with 22 trucks. Two of the city’s trucks broke down overnight Thursday and were being repaired, streets superintendent Mike DeGiacamo said.

DeGiacomo said the city was running low on salt and was mixing sand with salt to compensate. He said crews will be working nonstop through the weekend.

Oklahoma Department of Transportation crews also are trying to clear roadways.

During snow and/or ice conditions, motorists should:

• Check road conditions before getting out.

• Be aware that conditions are continually changing; drive cautiously.

• Stay at least 200 feet behind road-clearing equipment; crews need room to maneuver and can engage plowing or spreading materials without notice.

• Be aware of "black ice,” which looks wet on the roadway but is actually a thin layer of ice.

• Allow extra space between vehicles so there is adequate distance for braking in wet and icy conditions.

• Be patient, plan trips ahead and allow extra time to reach destinations.

• To check current conditions, call the state Transportation Department hot line at (888) 425-2385.

Power was restored to thousands Friday in the Oklahoma City area, but many others remained without heat across the state as crews worked to restore service.

About 151,000 homes and businesses were without power Friday evening, the Oklahoma Corporation Commission reported.

Purcell and Chickasha were among the hardest- hit communities. In Purcell, trees and power lines collapsed beneath the weight of the ice, leaving the area quiet, slick and dark. Ed Cravens, McClain County director of emergency management, said Purcell’s hospital lost its electricity Thursday afternoon and was still on emergency power Friday.

About 12,000 people in and around Chickasha were without power Friday evening. Residents were urged to take shelter at the Grady County fairgrounds.

"People really tried to tough it out Thursday night, but I don’t expect them to do it tonight,” Chickasha police Lt. James Biddix said.

As of 9:15 p.m., the statewide outages included 9,675 customers of Oklahoma Gas and Electric Co.

For the second straight day, Will Rogers World Airport closed Friday as weather conditions continued to prevent flights from reaching or leaving Oklahoma City.

Crews deiced the runway overnight, but heavy snow moved in early in the day causing further problems. The airport remained open until 2:30 p.m. as officials hoped a break in the weather would allow some flights to arrive.

Airport spokeswoman Karen Carney said anyone scheduled to fly should call the airline to reschedule.

"We’re battling ice just like the rest of the city,” Carney said.

Carney said she expects a limited schedule of departures and arrivals to resume today.

More severe weather coverage

Power outages

American Electric Power-Public Service Co. of Oklahoma reported 59,415 customers without power.

As of 9:15 p.m., Public Service Co. of Oklahoma also reported the following outages:

• Chickasha: 12,261

• Clinton: 218

• Duncan: 4,594

• Elk City: 101

• Hobart: 6,047

• Lawton: 31,621

• Okmulgee: 678

The Oklahoma Municipal Power Authority

reported 26,286 customers without power in

the following locations:

• Altus: 9,300

• Duncan: 8,942

• Eldorado: 283

• Granite: 613

• Manitou: 209

• Olustee: 316

• Lexington: 693

• Purcell: 2,219

The Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives reported 55,561 customers without power.

Oklahoma City-area forecast

• Today: Partly sunny. Highs near 30.

• Tonight: Partly cloudy. Lows

about 15.

• Sunday: Mostly sunny. High

about 35.

• Sunday night: Mostly cloudy. Lows about 30.

Oklahoma forecast

• Today: Mostly cloudy. Highs mostly in the 30s.

• Sunday: Partly cloudy. Lows in the teens and 20s. Highs from the upper 30 to mid-40s.


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