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March 4, 2014

Roads could be hazardous this morning

NORMAN — March came in like the proverbial lion, and some folks are hoping that means it will go out like a lamb. For now, temperatures are expected to climb as the week continues.

National Weather Service meteorologist Wayne Ruff said today would warm up to 45 or 46 degrees, with a light south wind and mostly sunny skies.

Wednesday will be much the same, Ruff said, with temperatures continuing to warm throughout the week. Thermometers are likely to hit the mid-60s on Friday.

Ruff said there is a slight chance of rain Wednesday and another chance for rain Saturday.

Ruff said it’s too early to predict how March will end or when the last freeze will hit the area, though generally it’s around the first week of April.

Frigid temperatures — along with ice, sleet and snow — made roads hazardous throughout the weekend. Slick roads are likely this morning as well, with temperatures freezing anything that melted Monday. Road crews have worked around the clock to keep streets safe.

“We’ve been out since Saturday evening late,” Norman Public Works Director Shawn O’Leary said. “We started our 24-hour rotation then — we knew the weather was turning icy and snowy.”

County officials also brought in road crews over the weekend to pretreat roads and then to blade them after the snowstorm passed.

“We thought it was going to be over with Sunday morning and then we got another round,” District 1 Commissioner Rod Cleveland said of the weekend storm.

Oklahoma Department of Transportation crews cleared state highways and interstates.

Ice came in first, making roads treacherous, but the city received an additional load of salt Friday.

“We got lucky,” O’Leary said. “We got 500 tons of salt.”

The city tries to order as much salt and sand as it needs, but it can only store about 1,500 tons at a time. This winter’s ice put a big dent in the supply. Norman gets its salt from the Hutchison, Kan., salt mines, which distributes to about a five state region.

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