By ART LAWLER
The Ada News
Planning a big trip this weekend?
You might want to consider the Bahamas.
If you’re planning on taking the family buggy on a weekend excursion, think south, not north — Dallas, not Ponca City.
Pontotoc County Emergency Director Chad Letellier isn’t convinced this weekend is going to be the season’s first big weather hit with rain, snow, sleet and ice in this area, but he conceded much of the state will have to deal with the dreaded “I” word.
Temperatures north of I-44 are expected to be sub-freezing with plenty of nasty moisture and ice to go with it.
If you take the car south, toward Ardmore or Dallas, you shouldn’t have much of a problem driving, as Letellier with the help of the National Weather Service sees it shaping up.
No question, cold weather will be with us whether we travel north or south or just stay home in front of the fire.
If you go south, stay a couple of nights. Friday night should be OK. Saturday night could prove troublesome coming up from the south toward Ada as temperatures drop to maybe 29 degrees.
If you’re in, say Dallas, on Sunday, plan to get home by supper time.
If you’re thinking about a trip north to the Tulsa area, you might want to stop it.
You can look for icy roads, sleet, snow and semi-miserable conditions if you insist on going north.
Don’t expect Ada-type temperatures. Prepare for it.
If you were thinking it was cold out Wednesday, for instance, you were experiencing temperatures in the 60s.
Man up. It’s going to get worse
Don’t just go outside and stand there. Think about the wind-chill. If it feels below freezing, you’re probably freezing.
So stop that.
Make sure you have a blanket, in case you get stuck out there by yourself.
By all means, make sure you have a cell phone and that it’s charged up. Wouldn’t hurt to have a battery charger that plugs into the cigarette lighter, either.
Don’t use the cigarette lighter to light cigarettes and leave your battery un-charged.
Never know quite how long you could be sitting in a ditch waiting for assistance. No pressure.
You could get lucky.
Letterer says it’s not quite time to put your muffins over your ears.
“I don’t think it’ll be a major event,’ he says. “We’ll probably get some light freezing Saturday night and some freezing rain that could cause some power line problems Sunday evening,” he said.
Other than that...
“The main thing I would like to mention is that so many people are traveling this time of the year. You need to be prepared for the area you’re visiting,” Letellier said.
“We’re used to 60 degrees and so we just take a coat. But then you can wind up getting into a foot of snow and icy roads when we go north,” he said.
It may still be preseason on the really dangerous weather, but it’s good practice to pack your “Preparedness Kit,” as Letellier likes to call it, just in case.
We’ve already mentioned the blanket. A shovel would be nice. Don’t forget the kitty litter to help you get some traction out of an icy spot.
Other items to pack include plenty of water, food and candles to keep warm by when stuck in a blizzard.
Letellier claims a candle can make a car 10 or 15 degrees warmer just by lighting it, but be careful with that thing.
Don’t go out wearing your favorite Hawaii shirt, or Sooner T-shirt
Wear warm clothes, Letellier says. See how many layers you can get on.
Don’t forget the ice scraper. Make sure your fluid for the windshield is the anti-freeze type, so you won’t be spraying ice on your windshield.
Make sure your car is good to go, like the right mixture of anti-freeze in the radiator, gasoline in the tank, etc.
It goes without saying to have good rubber meeting the pavement. You don’t want to slick and slide all over the highway.
If you do start into a skid, quickly let off the accelerator. You’ll probably come right out of it.
DO NOT SLAM ON THE BRAKES WHEN YOU FEEL A SLIDE COMING ON!”
Saturday night could get down to a low of 26 degrees, but the sun should be out enough Sunday to push temperatures up to 44 degrees — at least in the daylight hours, the U.S. Weather Service says.
The Fireweather forecast, Letellier says is predicting a 50 percent chance of show, sleet and ice near midnight Sunday.
Don’t be out on the streets at midnight Sunday unless you want to encounter the really bad stuff.
Ken Garcia, Regional Director of Communications for the Central and Western Regions
Director of Communications for the Red Cross echoed much of what Letellier says in being prepared.
Give yourself a chance to complain about the nasty weather at work on Monday.