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February 4, 2014

Winter isn’t over for Oklahoma

NORMAN — As wintry weather hits the state and moves through the nation, it’s looking like the groundhog got it right.

Groundhog or no groundhog, winter is never really over until the middle of March due to the tilt of the earth, according to weather experts. March 20 is astronomically the first day of spring. Until then, science and experience tells us snow and cold temperatures are possible.

“Some of our biggest snows and cold temperatures are often in February and March,” National Weather Service meteorologist Kevin Brown said. “The groundhog is cute and funny, but his accuracy is less than desired. I think there were too many cameras this year, so I think he got scared.”

Still, sympathies are with the groundhog after the weekend snow that draped between three and four inches across Norman, according to measurements by the NWS.

Many will wake to more snow today, with cold temperatures expected throughout the week. The worst of today’s storm will hit the northern portion of Oklahoma.

“We’re only expecting an inch and a half or two inches in Norman,” Brown said Monday afternoon. “There are indications that Norman may only get a dusting. We’re expecting it to top out at two inches.”

City crews have been treating roads and bridges and will continue to do so throughout the week as winter weather rolls through.

“We’re really pacing ourselves, knowing that we just came out of a debris cleanup,” Public Works Director Shawn O’Leary said.

The debris removal was implemented in response to the ice storm that hit Norman on Dec. 20. The debris pickup was completed today — two days early to allow staff to focus on road conditions.

“We literally converted most of our equipment over this weekend in advance of that snow storm, and it went really well,” O’Leary said. “We did a fairly typical snowplow operation. We did some overnight pretreating of bridges. Basically, it was a very clean, dry snow that was a snowplow operation.”

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