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December 26, 2012

Lighter than expected

NORMAN — A winter storm forecasted to coat central Oklahoma in up to 10 inches of snow delivered ice, sleet and a mere dusting of the season’s most scenic precipitation on Christmas Day.

Matthew Day, of the National Weather Service, said a late night/early morning influx of dry air from the north cut the snowfall to a fraction of its predicted total, estimating Norman’s snowfall at half an inch to one inch total.

“We currently have no advisories in place and none expected for the coming days, but that could change, so everyone is advised to keep an eye on the weather,” Day said.

According to AAA spokesman Daniel Karnes and Norman Public Works Street Superintendent Greg Hall, the lighter snow was cause for some relief for road and emergency crews, but roads were hardly 100 percent safe Tuesday.

“As far as I’ve heard, we’ve had no serious issues. Our fleets are out there working, and, luckily, we didn’t get hit badly in all areas of the state,” Karnes said. “I think we were all worried about another 2009, and we’re thankful that didn’t happen.”

Of major concern to travelers and crews alike was the ice and a three-day stretch of low temperatures.

“We’ll have the same road concerns for the next few days. Currently, major roadways are still being treated, but there’s patchy ice and even with treatment like salt/sand, roads will refreeze overnight and be as dangerous as untreated roads,” Hall said.

The unanimous message to all drivers? Be extremely careful.

“It’s good we didn’t see what was originally forecasted, but even with less precipitation, all drivers need to continue to be very careful,” Karnes said.

Hall said that locally, road crews will continue to work today to make shopping districts accessible for post-Christmas shoppers, but close attention will be of utmost importance.

“I’d consider this (year) an annoyance compared to 2009, and the sunny weather tomorrow will be helpful,” Hall said Tuesday. “I had to be out at 5:45 this morning, and my men sacrifice their Christmas Day to make sure others are safe. It’s part of the job.”

 

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