- Ada, Oklahoma

December 6, 2013

Winter blast brings snow, ice to Pontotoc County

Art Lawler Staff Writer

Ada —

 It's hunker-down time for the next several days in Pontotoc County.

 The most positive definition for the weather could be "awful."

 However, weather forecasters at the National Weather Service in Norman, while expressing mild surprise at the blanket of snow that covered iced-over Pontotoc County early Friday morning, were glad to see it.

  The snow won't make the ice go away, but it will cover it up, giving motorists slightly more traction.

 The good news is that it's much less a threat to the county's trees and power lines than ice weighing down the limbs and lines, resulting in power outages.

 Don't get crazy now. The roads will still be slick, just hidden.

  District 2 County Commissioner Gary Starns and his workers were busy pulling one of their own trucks out of a ditch Friday morning.

 He said the heavier precipitation had fallen in the north and the east portions of the county.

 "We've been out since 6 a.m., with five trucks putting down sand on the bridges,” he said.

 Before they could put down the sand, though, Starns had to move two of his trucks, which have scrapers, to clear the ice off the bridges. His plans were to put down the sand before the continuing precipitation could cover up the bridges again.

  The truck that went into a ditch, he said, had the blade attached to the front. 

 "You really have to watch when you're blading along, because it can push you off in there,” Starns said.

 Commissioners in the other two districts, Randy Floyd (2) and Justin Roberts (3) were not immediately available for comment at press time.

Snow and ice

The wintry blast began as an ice storm, then turned into a snowstorm.

 "It rolled over to snow in Norman about 6 p.m. (Thursday) and began falling on top of the ice," said Daryl Williams, a forecaster at that Weather Service in Norman.

 The snow was expected to leave the area and push off to the east early Friday afternoon. 

  Unfortunately, it was to be a temporary reprieve.

 Another shot of precipitation during the day Saturday is expected, about a 20 percent chance in the morning and about 40 percent chance in the evening.

 The below-zero wind-chill weather, which had originally been forecast for Saturday night, was expected, instead, to arrive early Saturday morning in the county. 

 Those crawling out of bed Saturday can expect to be greeted by temperatures in the single digits with wind chills about 10 to 12 below zero.

  The daytime temperature Saturday is expected to be around 4 to 6 degrees.

  "The trouble tonight (Friday) is that mostly clear skies and cold air will sink temperatures," Williams said.

  Saturday night is actually now expected to be a little "warmer" with a low of about 17 degrees and a wind chill of five ABOVE. 

 The high Sunday for Pontotoc County could reach all the way up to 26 degrees. Unfortunately, the next chance of rain in the forecast is also called for  late Saturday and early Sunday.

 Monday is looking to be about 20-to-25 degrees with a wind chill in the upper teens.

 Monday night? It's more of the same. Temperatures are expected to fall to 12 degrees with a wind chill of 8 to 9 above zero.

 Tuesday's high, with some sunshine, is expected to reach 28-29 degrees with a wind chill of 18 down to the lower teens.

 As for weather fit for human habitation, the first above freezing temperatures are now expected to arrive sometime Wednesday with a heat wave all the way up to the mid- 30s.

 Starns said that so far, the people in his district were "being good" in their cold-weather driving. "If we can get the sand put down today, with the two blades and two graders running, when things thaw, it'll get away earlier. 

  "If we don't get it off it'll be like driving on glass," he said.

 Anyone with serious problems should call 911.

   Police say the winter storm moving through much of Oklahoma has claimed its second victim, the Associated Press reported.

Oklahoma City Police Capt. Dexter Nelson said Friday that an unidentified man was discovered dead under an overpass in an area where transients are known to congregate. 

Nelson says there didn’t appear to be any signs of foul play, and the state Medical Examiner’s Office will make a final determination on the cause of death. A spokeswoman there did not immediately return a message seeking information on the man.

On Thursday, a 5-year-old boy from Fort Gibson was killed when a van he was riding in overturned on an icy road.

Officials discouraged travel across much of the state Friday, saying roads were slick and hazardous due to an overnight coating of snow and sleet.