Oklahoma braces for wintry weather
Oklahoma is bracing for a round of wintry weather this weekend, with forecasters predicting sleet, freezing rain and a few inches of snow across much of the state.
Across central and western Oklahoma, including the Oklahoma City metro area, a round of freezing rain is expected to begin late Friday evening or early Saturday morning, said Scott Curl, a forecaster with the National Weather Service's Norman office.
Freezing rain is expected to continue through Saturday morning before changing to snow during the afternoon or evening, Curl said. The Oklahoma City metro area could see as much as 4 inches of snow, he said. Snow is expected to taper off by Sunday morning, he said.
A combination of ice and snow could create treacherous roadways throughout the day Saturday and Sunday morning, Curl said. Bridges, overpasses and other elevated surfaces could be particularly hazardous, he said.
Forecasters initially predicted higher snowfall totals in Oklahoma City and elsewhere across the state before downgrading their predictions Thursday afternoon. The storm carries a good deal of uncertainty, Curl said, and predictions could continue to change throughout the day Friday.
“It's really been kind of a moving target for us today," he said.
On Thursday, Gov. Mary Fallin declared a state of emergency covering all 77 counties in the state. The declaration allows state agencies to position emergency resources ahead of the storm and make emergency purchases related to disaster relief. It also represents the first step in seeking federal disaster assistance funding, if necessary.
Road crews in Oklahoma City prepared Thursday to clear city snow routes during the storm. Crews will pretreat bridges and overpasses before the storm arrives, and salt and plow trucks will continue clearing roads until conditions improve, city officials said.
Darrell Eberly, emergency manager with the Oklahoma State Department of Health, encouraged residents to avoid traveling in hazardous conditions. Anyone who must venture out should travel with emergency supplies, including blankets, snacks, water, booster cables and a fully charged cellphone, Eberly said.
Weather-related cancellations and closures include:
• Saturdays with Santa at Myriad Gardens is canceled.
• Myriad Gardens' Polar Express PJ, Pancake and Ice Skating Party has been rescheduled to December 20.
• Holly Jolly Shops at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark has been rescheduled to December 15-16.
• The Lake Thunderbird State Park Nature Center eagle-watching event is canceled for Saturday.
Check NewsOK.com for an updated list of closures and cancellations.