NORMAN — Every school-aged child’s dream came true as they lazily rolled out of bed on Friday and heard those two magical words: snow day.
Many in the Norman and metro area bundled up as they relished a day off from work while many more headed to work later than usual with delayed opening office times.
The University of Oklahoma, Norman, Moore, Blanchard, Little Axe, and Noble schools were closed as well as activities canceled. And crews from the Oklahoma Department of Transportation plowed snow and applied sand to slick spots statewide on Friday.
Norman Police Department Captain Tom Easley said Norman residents were being good, following safety tips and staying indoors with only seven car accidents Thursday night and no accidents reported by late Friday afternoon. NPD is operating under its inclement weather protocol and will only respond to injury-related accidents. Easley said this protocol would stay in place until road conditions improve.
NPD responded to four of the seven car accidents on Thursday night. Two of the four accidents involved property damage. In one accident, a vehicle ran into a building and in the other accident, a vehicle ran into a fire hydrant. Easley said the police department responded to these two accidents because they involved property damage other than a vehicle.
As of Friday afternoon, heavy sleet and snowfall had moved out of the state according to Marc Austin, meteorologist for the National Weather Service. Austin said although the area might see a light round of snow tonight into Sunday, such snow fall would be more of a dusting.
“Right now we have two main concerns: extreme lows and freezing roads,” Austin said.
Temperatures will be in the single digits today. The temperature at kickoff for the OU-OSU bedlam game today is expected to be 15 degrees with a wind chill of zero. Austin advised fans to wear lots of layers, hats and gloves if attending the game.
Because sun melted a lot of snow on Friday, Austin said Norman residents should be very weary of roads today as they were expected to freeze overnight.
During snow and ice conditions, the Oklahoma Department of Transportation asked that motorists do the following:
· Check road conditions before getting out on the road.
· Stay at least 200 feet behind road-clearing equipment because crews need room to maneuver and can engage plowing or spreading materials without notice.
· Allow extra space between vehicles, so there is adequate distance for braking in wet and icy conditions
· Be aware of “black” ice, which looks wet on the roadway, but is actually a thin layer of ice.
· Be patient, plan trips ahead and allow extra time to reach destinations.
For more weather updates from the Oklahoma Department of Transportation, call 888-425-2385 or visit okladot.state.ok.us.
Additionally, as snow moves out of the region, the American Red Cross of Central and Western Oklahoma will shift its attention to cold weather and a possible increase of home fires, which tend to increase as temperatures drop.
Norman Deputy Fire Chief Jim Bailey said the fire department had not seen an increase in house fires thus far, and that Norman residents should continue to drip their pipes and those using space heaters should be careful of carbon monoxide poisoning and invest in a carbon monoxide detector.
The American Red Cross suggests the following to prevent house fires:
· All heaters need space. Keep all things that can burn (paper, matches, bedding, furniture, clothing, carpets and rugs) at least three feet away from heating equipment.
· Never leave a fire in the fireplace unattended and use a glass or metal fire screen to keep fire and embers in the fireplace.
· Never use a cooking range or oven to heat your home.
· Turn off portable space heaters every time you leave the room or go to sleep.
· Have wood and coal stoves, fireplaces and chimneys inspected annually by a professional and cleaned if necessary.
· If you must use a space heater, place it on a level, hard and nonflammable surface (such as a ceramic tile floor), not on rugs or carpets or near bedding or drapes. And plug power cords directly into outlets and never into an extension cord.
For more information on how to prevent home fires, check out redcross.org/.
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