By Jessica Bruha
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — With freezing rain, snow and sleet expected to arrive in Norman soon, it might begin to look a lot like Christmas.
National Weather Service meteorologist Scott Curl said the Norman area will begin to see some very light freezing rain or freezing drizzle late tonight or early Thursday, continuing throughout the day.
More significant winter precipitation is expected overnight Thursday, continuing through Friday, Curl said.
Sleet is expected to change to snow Thursday evening, and snow is expected to continue Friday. Curl said depending on how fast the sleet turns into snow, Norman could be looking at anywhere from 2 to 4 inches of snow accumulation.
“If more sleet falls than snow, that number could be lower,” he said.
Once temperatures dip below freezing, they will most likely remain below freezing throughout the weekend, Curl said. There may even be some light snow Saturday and possibly Sunday, he said.
“It will remain below freezing probably until Monday,” Curl said.
Rusty Sullivan, District 3 Cleveland County commissioner, said their crews are prepared for the winter storm.
Additional sand and salt has been stockpiled in locations throughout his district so crews can load and respond immediately, Sullivan said.
“Our response time is about as quick as anybody, or quicker than most because we’ve got it (sand and salt) staged,” he said.
Sullivan said his yard mechanics have all of their heavy equipment ready to go at a moment’s notice, including graders they might need to use to remove snow.
A procedure also is in place in the event that the courthouse must be closed to get employees and citizens home safely, he said.
“We consult with the emergency safety director if we do decide to close it down,” Sullivan said, “but conditions have to be pretty severe if we do that.”
Norman Police Capt. Tom Easley said residents should take precautions and prepare for bad weather before it hits.
If residents must drive, Easley said residents should “start slow, stop slow and pay attention.”
In the event that roads become unmanageable, the bureau or division commander could have police units stop responding to non-injury accidents.
“If the weather is that bad, first of all, you shouldn’t be out driving unless it’s an emergency,” Easley said. “If that rule is put into place, people that are involved in non-injury accidents are asked to exchange information and move on.”
Norman Deputy Fire Chief Jim Bailey said they still will respond to all fire and medical calls, no matter how bad the weather gets, but it may take them a while to get to people, depending on the conditions of the roadway.
Bailey said they also may prioritize those calls based on the type of emergency it is.
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