NORMAN — Snow started falling Thursday in parts of Oklahoma as residents worked to keep warm in frigid temperatures.
National Weather Service forecaster Daryl Williams said that although snow and freezing precipitation will be seen during the day Thursday, the brunt of the storm is expected overnight and into Friday.
"The most substantial amounts will be later tonight, through the overnight hours and through tomorrow," he said.
Williams said chilly temperatures will be a concern. In the Oklahoma City area, temperatures are not expected to reach above freezing until Tuesday. The last time the area experienced a similar cold snap was in 1996, Williams said.
In Norman, the University of Oklahoma and County Courthouse have already closed for the day. The Norman Library will close at 4p.m. The Transcript will continue to post closings and cancellations to its website, Facebook page and its text alerts as it receives them. You can receive text alerts by signing up at http://tntne.ws/wxalert
The frigid temperatures led Oklahoma State University to shut down a makeshift tent community that students had set up ahead of Saturday's Bedlam rivalry football game between Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, according to the Tulsa World.
Debbie McCarthy, coordinator of special events for OSU Athletics, told the newspaper that the camp was shut down Wednesday because officials were concerned that propane heaters being used in tents could cause carbon monoxide poisoning or start a fire.
Some cities had already canceled holiday events ahead of the storm, and schools across the state also called off classes.
Edmond resident Lori Billy, 40, said she was hoping her two kids, ages 8 and 11, would have a snow day on Friday. If so, the three would stay inside in their pajamas, watch movies and finish decorating the Christmas tree, she said.
Jesse Walton, who has lived in Oklahoma all his life, was bracing Thursday for up to 4 inches of snow, plus ice. The Guthrie resident was out with his daughter Wednesday stocking up on the usual food supplies, such as bread, soup and water. He described the shopping scene from the previous night that looked like "Black Friday, because there was an ocean of people."
Walton said he and his family got stuck out in the major winter storm that clobbered the state in early 2011, and vowed since to be more prepared the next time around. So he recently snapped up some DVDs to make the time pass faster.
"We were planning the bad all the way since Thanksgiving because I was just tired of being bored," he said.
Oklahoma City housewife Tyjuana Spicer also recalled the 2011 storm, when she and her family were cooped up inside their home for a week. She's prepared for the worst now, stocking up on groceries and buying a generator, candles, flashlights, computer and board games for her son and grandson.
Her main frustration Thursday was not knowing what type of weather to expect, as forecasts were being constantly tweaked throughout the day.
"You never know about Oklahoma City," she said. "You just never know."
Elsewhere in the state, it was unclear what impact the chilly temperatures would have on day-to-day activities.
Christina Sollis, a cashier at The Plaza Restaurant in Altus, said she wasn't sure what to expect.
"The first time it gets cold it never gets busy. People are too scared to go out," she said, adding that people get braver as the cold weather lingers.