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December 21, 2013

State braces for another storm

OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma is bracing for a second winter storm in the past 15 days with snow and ice forecast across the northern half of the state.

The National Weather Service issued an ice storm warning that started at 6 p.m. yesterday for an area stretching from Clinton in western Oklahoma all the way to the state’s northeast counties that border Missouri, Kansas and Arkansas.

“We’re looking at significant ice accumulation along the Interstate 44 corridor. Probably the worst conditions, for driving, will probably remain north of I-44,” said National Weather Service meteorologist Chuck Hodges in Tulsa.

The Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management began planning for the storm Friday morning, said spokeswoman Keli Cain.

“The state EOC (Emergency Operations Center) is activating ... extended hours for key personnel,” that include the National Guard, Oklahoma Highway Patrol, the Red Cross and emergency management officials, Cain said.

The state Department of Transportation was also mobilizing trucks to prepare to salt and sand roadways, according to spokeswoman Kenna Carmon.

“Things are still very fluid depending on how the storm develops. Here in Tulsa County alone there will be about 45 trucks that will be out,” Carmon said.

Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma City and Tulsa International Airport each reported several cancellations as the storm moved into southwestern Oklahoma.

Hodges said the storm wasn’t expected to be as severe as the Dec. 5 storm, which brought ice, sleet, freezing rain and snow to the state and was blamed for 10 deaths.

“Right now the impacts from the ice storm coming up don’t look quite as significant as that one. There were long term power outages in southeastern Oklahoma.”

In Vinita, Diamond Rio Convenience Store Gary Mills, said the only impact of the pending storm that he could see is from fuel sales.

“We’re getting a lot gas customers. Being a convenience store, I get a lot or people filling up their cars before the weather hits.”

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