By Jessica Bruha
The Norman Transcript
Temperatures have already dropped below freezing this month as Cleveland County saw the first winter weather storm system pass through on Friday, but more cold temps and precipitation is expected.
National Weather Center Meteorologist Doug Speheger said another storm system is expected to pass through Central Oklahoma today with possible sleet and snow.
“Looking at the current information it looks unlikely we will get the freezing rain like last time,” Speheger said. “Right now we’re looking at a couple inches of snow.”
Speheger said the area may see lingering flurries or light rain on Monday, but the storm system is expected to move out later that night.
Temperatures are expected to be in the low 30s and may not get above freezing until Monday with a high of 36 degrees. Speheger said Tuesday they expect things to warm up a bit with a high of 42 degrees.
Over the past few days Norman saw varied amounts of precipitation ranging from about a tenth of an inch to a quarter-inch from the freezing rain and sleet, Speheger said.
Temperatures hit a low of 29 degrees in Norman Friday as well.
The City of Norman was prepared for the freezing rain and will be prepared if it snows, said Shawn O’Leary, Norman Public Works Director.
O’Leary said street crews went into their 24-hour operation beginning Thursday night to combat the freezing rain.
The crews were able to go home Saturday because of the ice threat disappeared with warmer temperatures.
“We were really pleased with our event (Friday),” O’Leary said. “We did as well as we could and felt like we got lucky.”
Ice is the street crew’s biggest enemy, he said, but they are feeling good about keeping the roads clear especially in comparison to the interstate and metro area.
Norman Police Lt. Jay Callaghan said they didn’t respond to anything significant or major traffic accidents due to the bad weather.
“It was pretty much normal,” Callaghan said. “We responded to regular calls for service.”
Callaghan advised people to keep an eye on the weather and plan accordingly. In the event that you are on the roads when bad weather hits, Callaghan said individuals should drive accordingly and drive safely.
Norman Deputy Fire Chief Jim Bailey also advised residents to stay home once the weather comes and to check on family members and the elderly.
With more winter weather on the way, O’Leary said another 12-hour shift began Saturday night for street crews. The same routine used to combat the ice will be used to combat the sleet and snow, with the exception of using a snow plow if there is enough accumulation.
“Actually for us, snow is much more routine and manageable,” O’Leary said.
He expected crews to continue through Monday at which point they will either stay in a 24-hour operation or if the weather lets up, they will be able to send crews home. Whatever the weather decides to do though, O’Leary said they are equipped to handle it and have been training since July and August to deal with it.
The Norman Police Department is also prepared to deal with snowy conditions. Callaghan said the department has several vehicles they can take to their garage to put snow tires on and for maintenance and service.