Forrest Mitchell with the National Weather Service, Norman Forecast Office said that thunder and sleet combination seen in Chickasha, Tuttle, Norman and some other areas will likely be moving into Oklahoma City soon.
METRO Transit Readies for Chilling Winter Weather
Inclement Weather Could Impair Public Transit Travel
With immediate forecasts calling for harsh winter weather, METRO Transit is ready to implement a winter storm operation plan for its Central Oklahoma services. The plan starts with preparation, advances into rerouting buses, and finally – under the worst conditions – will significantly reduce service.
As necessary, METRO Transit buses will begin rerouting based on the road conditions on each individual route. The plan has identified areas that make bus travel unsafe when severe winter weather conditions exist. Operators are already on standby with detours for those areas should it become necessary. A detail of those detours can be found at www.gometro.org.
METRO Transit is asking bus riders to make their own preparations for winter travel and to heed warnings for safe travel. Passengers should be at their bus stops on time, but there may be unavoidable delays depending on variable weather and traffic conditions. Riders should expect harsh winter conditions and should dress accordingly.
The best place to get information on transit disruptions is online at www.gometro.org, or you can call Customer Service at 235-7433 (RIDE) during business hours. And, when inclement weather is on the way or on the ground, METRO Transit will use Twitter (@METROTransit) to point followers to the changing information available via the website and phone lines.
If possible, always check the web first for the most current information. If you don’t have access to the web, call Customer Service at 235-7433 (RIDE). Be prepared for possible long waits on the phone lines because call volumes increase significantly during bad weather.
WINTER WEATHER PREPAREDNESS
Have a Plan – Make a Kit – Stay Informed
Have A Plan:
• Discuss with your family what to do if a winter storm watch or warning is issued.
• Ensure your family knows meeting places and phone numbers of other family members in case they are separated when a winter storm hits.
• Know what to do if basic services such as water, gas, electricity or telephones are cut off for an extended period of time.
• Understand the hazards of wind chill. Cold temperatures are even more dangerous, and potentially deadly, when combined with strong winds. The lower the temperature and stronger the wind, the more at risk you are.
• Check on family, friends and neighbors, especially the elderly. Make sure they are prepared.
• Plan to bring pets inside during winter weather. Move livestock to sheltered areas with
non-frozen drinking water.
• Install and check smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.
• Let faucets drip a little to avoid freezing and know how to shut off water valves if necessary.
• Have an alternate heating method such as fireplace or wood or coal burning stove. Always be cautious using a portable space heater.
• Have your car winterized before winter storm season. Keep your gas tank full for emergency use and to keep the fuel line from freezing.
Make A Kit:
• A cell phone with charger and a battery powered radio.
• Windshield scraper, de-icer, snow shovel and small broom for ice and snow removal.
• Several blankets or sleeping bags.
• Rain gear, warm coats and extra sets of dry clothing, mittens, socks and a cap.
• Non-perishable snacks like dried fruit, nuts and other high energy “munchies.”
• Several bottles of water. Eating snow will lower your body temperature. If necessary, melt it first.
• Sand or cat litter for generating traction under wheels and a set of tire chains or traction mats.
• Jumper cables, flashlight with extra batteries, first aid kit and brightly colored cloth to tie to antenna if you get stranded.
• Know what National Weather Service winter storm and blizzard watches and warnings mean.
• A winter storm watch is a message indicating a winter storm is possible in your area.
• A winter storm warning indicates a winter storm is occurring winter storm is occurring or will soon occur in your area and could threaten life and property.
• A blizzard warning means sustained winds or frequent gusts to 35 mph or greater and considerable falling or blowing snow is expected to prevail for a period of three hours or longer.
TROOP A (based in Oklahoma City) – Starting to rain and sleet in some areas across all 7 central Oklahoma counties. 9:32 p.m.
TROOP B (based in Tulsa) – Light precipitation in Rogers, Tulsa, Creek and Okmulgee counties. Creek county is experiencing light to moderate snow at this time. Roads will be slick spots in all areas. Use caution on bridges and overpasses. 8:11 p.m.
TROOP G (based in Lawton) – ALL TROOP G COUNTIES ARE REPORTING RAIN AND OR FREEZING RAIN AT THIS TIME. SAND TRUCKS ARE REPORTEDLY OUT IN COTTON AND GRADY COUNTIES. TMB 8:52 p.m.
TROOP I (based in Guymon) – All counties are receiving light snow in some areas. No reports of slick roadways at this time, but caution is urged on bridges. Counties included are: Cimarron, Texas, Beaver, Harper, Ellis and Woodward. 7:09 p.m.
TROOP J (based in Enid) – Starting to receive snow in Woods and Kingfisher Counties, not sticking at this time. 9:42 p.m.
TROOP M (based in Altus) – Greer and Harmon Counties are still clear at this time. Tillman is slick and hazardous from earlier rain freezing and current sleet falling. Jackson and Kiowa are experiencing light to moderate sleet falling. Travel is discouraged in these areas. 9:24 p.m.
Albert Ashwood is in his office here at the State Emergency Management, Emergency Operations Center, otherwise known as the bunker, north of the state capitol.
The State Emergency Management Director said originally their concern with this story was ice and thus power outages. However, it looking more like a Christmas Eve 2009 Blizzard-type event. That brings about the concern of stranded motorists. He said the concern is not necessarily those who live in Oklahoma because many are taking precautions, but rather those motorists who are passing through the state.
“Human life is the main concern,” he said, “especially with bitter wind chills of 15 below.”
He said it is not out of the question that there will be some power outages in some areas, but again the possibility of blizzard conditions seems more widespread at this time.
There are already staff members working in what is called the bullpen of the Emergency Operations Center and work will continue through the night as the storm develops in Oklahoma.
Good evening this is Bryan Painter of The Oklahoman. I will be blogging from the state Emergency Management Operations Center in Oklahoma City near the capitol. Since I arrived here a few minutes ago, I’ve already heard about a Comanche County where they have had grass fires started by lightning and are receiving sleet.
Also Tillman County (Frederick area) is having problems with moderate sleet. And roads are starting to freeze from earlier rain, according to Oklahoma Highway Patrol.
Comanche County is reporting six grass fires started by lightning and it is sleeting.