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Woman killed in Oklahoma City sledding accident

The worst of today's blizzard has mostly passed through the Oklahoma City area, but the ramifications will last for days, officials said.
BY MICHAEL KIMBALL and BRYAN DEAN mkimball@opubco.com bdean@opubco.com Modified: February 1, 2011 at 8:10 pm •  Published: February 1, 2011

Will Rogers World Airport closed

All flights at Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma City were canceled today. Airport officials said now that the snow has stopped, they are trying to clear the east runway and taxiways to the terminal by this evening, although no flights are scheduled until morning.

Airport spokeswoman Karen Carney said passengers should check with their airlines about rebooking. The earliest flights are expected to arrive about 8 a.m., with departing flights beginning midmorning.

Record preliminary snowfall totals recorded

A preliminary total of 11.6 inches of snow fell at Will Rogers World Airport between midnight and noon today, weather service meteorologist Forrest Mitchell said. That total is unofficial and will be confirmed later, he said.

“With the wind blowing like it is, it's extremely difficult to accurately measure snowfall,” he said.

Mitchell said today smashed the all-time daily record for snowfall on any day in February. The previous record was 6.5 inches on Feb. 7, 1986. Records date back to November 1890.

Northeastern parts of the state have been hit hard, with 14.5 inches reported east of Owasso and 13.2 inches of snow in Tulsa, setting several records for the city, according to the weather service. Henryetta has received 11 inches of snow.

Drifts building throughout metro, state

The blizzard caused problems for all of Oklahoma City's rescue vehicles, but few felt the sting more than Oklahoma City Fire Station No. 30 at 4343 S Lake Hefner Drive. orthwest Expressway made it difficult for the engine, rescue ladder and chief's vehicle to respond to calls.

Maj. David Graham said high drifts blocking the station's overhead doors and a section of road that provides access to N

Graham said drifts were about three feet, if not higher.

Graham said the station has a Bobcat attempting to keep a path clear, but it had trouble keeping up. Earlier in the day firefighters could be seen shoveling snow, but the high winds made that impossible.

Graham said the engine was able to respond to a first aid call about 1 p.m.

“They were able to get out, but it was no easy deal,” he said. Fortunately, Graham said, there have been few calls to respond to.

Power outages fluctuate

Power outages climbed during the late morning but declined by early afternoon.

About 4,000 Oklahoma Gas and Electric Co. customers in the Oklahoma City area were without power late this morning, but the number was cut in half by noon and to about 200 by 4 p.m., according to the company website.

“We're seeing a mix of large widespread outages along with smaller, scattered ones,” OG&E spokesman Brian Alford said. “Wind and extreme cold are the primary causes.”

He said repairs are coming along slowly.

“Getting to problems is — as you would expect — the toughest issue,” Alford said.

Oklahoma City-area forecast:

Tonight: A 20 percent chance of snow showers before midnight. Cloudy with a low around 3. Wind chill values as low as minus 14. Windy, with a north, northwest wind 26 to 29 mph decreasing to between 16 and 19 mph. Winds could gust as high as 40 mph.

Wednesday: Cloudy with a high near 12. Wind chill values as low as minus 15. North, northwest wind between 15 and 17 mph with gusts as high as 28 mph.

Wednesday night: Mostly cloudy with a low around 2. Wind chill values as low as minus 12. North, northwest wind between 7 and 15 mph.

Thursday: Mostly sunny with a high near 22. Northwest wind between 7 and 9 mph.

Contributing: Staff Writers Robert Medley, Matt Patterson, Matt Dinger, Jennifer Palmer, Jane Glenn Cannon and Jay Marks.

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