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Ice, heavy rain moving into Oklahoma over the weekend

Depending on where you're standing, this weekend could bring a downpour, an ice storm or some combination of the two.

Forecasters predict a storm system will pass through the state this weekend, bringing with it several rounds of heavy precipitation. For northern and western Oklahoma, that will likely mean icy roads and bridges. Meanwhile, southern and southeastern Oklahoma can expect several inches of rain.

“This is going to be a multi-day event that's going to affect different parts of the state differently, depending on which day you're talking about," said Kevin Brown, a forecaster at the National Weather Service's Norman office.

The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm watch for most of central and western Oklahoma from Friday morning through late Saturday.

The first round of freezing drizzle is expected to reach central Oklahoma on Thursday night and Friday morning, Brown said. Temperatures are expected to drop below freezing Thursday night, meaning motorists could face icy bridges and overpasses during Friday morning commutes.

A second round of winter weather is expected to move into the state Friday night, bringing more ice and freezing rain to the state. The dividing line between rain and ice is expected to fall roughly along the Interstate 44 corridor, Brown said, with areas north of the highway seeing freezing rain and areas to the south receiving liquid rain.

Although forecasters are predicting rain for Friday night in Oklahoma City, the metro area could see ice, as well, Brown said.

“Oklahoma City is not out of the woods," he said. "We could still see some ice accumulation that could affect trees and maybe some power lines."

On Sunday, a third round of weather is expected to move through the state, mostly in the form of heavy rain and thunderstorms. Areas in far northwestern Oklahoma, including Woodward, could see freezing rain on Sunday, while the Oklahoma City area is expected to see liquid rain.

Central Oklahoma is expected to get about 3.6 inches of rain through the weekend, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Weather Prediction Center. Flooding will be possible in parts of central and western Oklahoma, forecasters said.

Oklahoma City emergency manager Frank Barnes said residents who are considering buying a gas-powered generator in case of power outages should be aware that those purchases won't be eligible for any kind of reimbursement.

Barnes said he's heard from a number of Oklahoma City residents who bought a generator in the past, having been told, incorrectly, by retailers that the Federal Emergency Management Agency or some other agency would reimburse them for the cost of the equipment if a federal disaster declaration were issued. No such reimbursement program exists on the federal, state or local level, Barnes said.

“We want people to be prepared — we just want them to make their decisions based on all the information and facts," Barnes said.

Silas Allen

Silas Allen is a news reporter for The Oklahoman. He is a Missouri native and a 2008 graduate of the University of Missouri. Read more ›