Cold snap continues across Oklahoma
Oklahoma City officials and regional authorities urged continued patience during what was called “halftime” of the winter storm Tuesday with a break in snow but bitter cold wreaking havoc on services throughout the metro.
“All I can ask is patience,” Mayor David Holt said as residents and leaders try to “get through this together.”
Residents were left wondering Tuesday when their power might go off or return after local utilities including Oklahoma Gas and Electric Co. were ordered a second time to initiate rolling blackouts to conserve power across the country's midsection.
The Southwest Power Pool, the regional transmission operator that oversees the grid that serves parts or all of 14 states between here and Canada, notified users across its system at 6:46 a.m. that it was ordering blackouts within parts of its system in an attempt to conserve available power supplies.
The order was rescinded at about 10:30 a.m., an email from Oklahoma Gas and Electric Co. stated.
“These things are very dynamic, they move very quickly,” OG&E spokesman Brian Alford said.
Some Oklahoma City residents said Tuesday they were near the end of their patience with the cold snap.
Kevin Matthews is a resident at Sooner Haven in Oklahoma City. The power went out in his complex so he planned to stop in at the supermarket and his church to get out of the home for a bit.
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“I’ll just be glad when it’s over with,” Matthews said.
Malik Shakur’s Ford Expedition wouldn’t start Tuesday morning because of what he believed to be a dead battery. His boss showed up just before 11 a.m. to try and help get it started, and give him a ride to work if not.
“I’ve seen pretty crazy snowstorms,” Shakur said, who lives in northeast Oklahoma City.
But the ongoing COVID situation also was on Shakur’s mind. He hadn’t yet received a vaccine and has thus far not contracted the virus.
“I can’t believe (COVID) hit us like it has,” Shakur said. “I never thought in my lifetime it would happen.”
The National Weather Service in Norman predicted 4 to 8 inches of snow late Tuesday into Wednesday.
Temperatures in the metro area Wednesday are expected to reach a high of 16 degrees. Thursday is expected to reach a high of 18 degrees.
911 call volume 'not sustainable'
Emergency responders have warned against using the 911 system to report power outages.
EMSA reports Tuesday’s 911 call volume is “not sustainable.”
Because of the rolling blackouts, the agency is receiving an influx of calls from people using powered medical equipment.
EMSA urges patients to contact their medical provider about a power outage plan for medical devices powered by electricity and refrigerated medicines.
Patients should find out how long medication can be stored at higher temperatures and get specific guidance for any medications and machines that are critical for life.
Any patient experiencing a medical emergency should call 911 immediately. EMSA will respond as quickly and safely as possible.
Guardsmen in accident
Two Oklahoma Army National Guardsmen were injured Monday during a two-vehicle collision on Will Rogers Turnpike in northeastern Oklahoma, authorities said.
Both soldiers were taken by ambulance to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
The Guardsmen were on the turnpike working in partnership with the Oklahoma Highway Patrol as part of a Stranded Motorist Assistance Recovery Team, which rescues stranded motorists during the record cold.
The collision is under investigation by Oklahoma Highway Patrol.