Gov. Mary Fallin has declared a state of emergency in all 77 of Oklahoma’s counties ahead of winter storms approaching the state.
Fallin’s executive order indicates officials anticipate snow, ice, freezing rain and flooding beginning Thursday.
The order temporarily suspends state licensing requirements for vehicles used to transport materials and supplies for emergency relief.
The declaration clears the way for state agencies to make emergency purchases related to disaster preparedness and is a crucial first step in the process of applying for federal disaster relief.
Pontotoc County Emergency Management Director Chad Letellier said he is prepared for a number of eventualities but doesn’t expect any significant ice events in the Ada area.
His main concern? Traffic accidents.
“At this time we’re expecting a 2- to 4-inch snowfall in the northern half of our county,” Letellier said. “So, drive when you need to, slow down. I expect that we’re going to have a bunch of accidents. We haven’t had much snow in a couple of years and people forget how to drive on it. I would just caution people, once the snow starts to fall don’t drive unless you have to.”
The National Weather Service in Norman continues to adjust its forecast for the storm as more information becomes available.
“This storm is expected to create major disruptions to travel across Oklahoma, and perhaps even to the electrical power grid,” NWS officials said Thursday. “The main impacts will occur Friday night through Saturday night. Stay aware of forecast changes as this storm system evolves and approaches the region. If you have outdoor or travel plans this weekend, they should be reassessed.”
NWS meteorologist Rick Smith said the agency has no serious concerns about the Ada area through Friday, but roads may become dangerous going into the evening Friday and through Saturday.
“Anytime we’re dealing with winter precipitation around here its always a tricky proposition,” Smith said. “The forecast has been changing and continues to change, but what you can expect in Ada is light rain and drizzle Friday during the day. That will change overnight.”
With the caveat that forecasts can change quickly, Smith said he anticipates the storm’s greatest impact on Ada to be felt Saturday.
“Sometime during the day on Saturday we are looking at more of a mixture of snow, sleet and freezing rain for ada and the surrounding area,” Smith said. “Going into the evening Saturday, you can expect up to one or two inches of snow before it all ends Saturday night.”
Smith said NWS officials are not currently expecting weather significant enough to cause any power outages in the Ada area, but warned that forecasts change and ice accumulation can cause problems with the power grid.