OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Gov. Kevin Stitt declared a State of Emergency for all 77 Oklahoma counties as a winter storm that could possibly be life-threatening approaches Oklahoma.
There's a 20 percent chance of snow showers on Saturday, but a full-on blizzard is expected to hit Oklahoma on Sunday.
Temperatures are expected to fall to dangerous lows of -3 degrees on Sunday and -10 degrees on Monday. Wind chills are expected to be as low as -15 degrees.
“The State of Oklahoma is prepared and ready to respond to this storm,” Stitt said. “I encourage all Oklahomans to pay attention to the weather, check on your neighbors and use the Drive Oklahoma app to monitor travel conditions throughout the weekend.”
Stranded Motorist Assist Response Teams (SMART) have been activated to assist stranded motorists if needed, according to a news release from the Governor's Office.
SMART are comprised of Oklahoma Highway Patrol and Oklahoma National Guard personnel. They will be strategically placed throughout the interstate system Sunday through Wednesday in a joint effort between OHP, the National Guard, Oklahoma Department of Transportation, Oklahoma Turnpike Authority and the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security.
“The Oklahoma Highway Patrol is encouraging all residents to stay home during the upcoming winter weather event,” said Col. Brent Sugg, Chief of the Highway Patrol. “While we will be prepared to rescue stranded motorists, those rescues are dangerous, not only for the motoring public but our troopers and other first responders as well. Staying at home ensures your safety and the safety of others.”
“ODOT crews in all 77 counties are prepared for this next storm after restocking our salt and sand supplies, readying equipment and putting third-party contractors on standby to supplement our crews and equipment as needed,” said Secretary of Transportation Tim Gatz. “We want to thank those motorists who heeded the call this past week to delay travel during the height of the ice storm, but the need to stay off highways and interstates will be even greater this weekend. Even once we clear a highway, it could become impassable within an hour or less, depending on conditions. We implore Oklahomans to plan ahead and stay off roadways once the storm starts. Crews will be on around-the-clock operations until highways are clear for travel, which likely will be long after the precipitation stops.”
ODOT is preparing for several days of 24/7 response in case a worst-case scenario arises, according to the news release.
Crews will adjust operations as storm conditions change.
State officials urge Oklahomans to stay off the roads when winter weather makes driving dangerous. But if you must travel, take the following precautions:
- Let others know your planned route and expected arrival time
- Check brakes, wipers, fluids and tire pressure
- Pack warm clothing, blankets, a flashlight, an ice scraper, sand or cat litter, jumper cables, non-perishable food and drinking water
- Charge your phone before you go and take a charging cord with you.
- Allow extra time for your drive. Slow down and avoid distractions.
- Buckle up.
Residents are advised to secure their homes against harsh winter conditions.
“Prepare your home to stay safe and warm as temperatures drop,” said ODEMHS Director Mark Gower. “Be sure you have the proper storm supplies such as bottled water, non-perishable food, flashlights, batteries, heavy blankets and anything else you may need to get through the storm. Be especially careful with alternative heating sources such as electric space heaters or propane heaters.”
Officials also urge Oklahomans to follow recommendations from public safety and transportation officials regarding travel conditions.