Oklahoma’s inclement weather has struck again.
With temperatures in the high 30s Monday, and near 100 percent chances of snow remaining in effect until Tuesday, city and school officials made preparations to maintain safety.
Bethel Public Schools Superintendent Jerry Johnson did not send students home early Monday, because parents had already gone to work and officials did not want to send children home to empty houses.
Johnson added that he hoped to have made a decision regarding whether or not the school would be open Tuesday by 10:30 p.m. Monday.
“We’re watching the weather like everyone else,” he said.
Tecumseh Public Schools planned to watch the weather and see what happened before making any decisions about canceling classes Tuesday.
“We’ll just have to watch that as the weather progresses,” Superintendent Tom Wilsie said at press time.
The city of Shawnee was making preparations in case road conditions changed suddenly Monday afternoon.
“The street & traffic department will be going on 12-hour shift starting [Monday] and continuing at least though [Tuesday],” Frank Loman, Streets Superintendent/Construction Manager, said in a statement.
“Conditions will determine if we continue this shift work farther into the week. At present we are preparing all equipment but will not start loading salt and sand material until later [Monday],” Loman said at press time Monday.
Shawnee/Pottawatomie County Emergency Management Director Don Lynch said Monday that the latest computer models were showing the storm tracking over Texas, which could shift the heavy snow line farther south into Pottawatomie County.
“Widespread accumulations across the state of up to eight inches are possible beginning late Sunday night through Monday into Tuesday,” Lynch said. “Winds will be higher in this storm than in the previous storm which will be an exacerbating factor…people should be make preparations now for a significant winter storm to impact our area.”
Oklahoma Highway Patrol Trooper Betsy Randolph said a tractor-trailer rig overturned at Intestate 40 and Kickapoo early Monday morning. Weather was believed to be a contributing factor, she said, although no injuries were reported.
As the rain fell Monday afternoon and was expected to change over to snow by evening, Randolph said troopers were telling everyone to be safe while driving and to reduce their speeds.
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Taking a few extra minutes is safer, she said, and dropping speed 10 to 20 mph can make a difference.
“You’re really driving to survive,” Randolph said, suggesting drivers should slow down and let others pass them.
She discouraged any travel in the northwestern part of the state, where a blizzard was causing dangerous conditions. She said drivers not heeding warnings in that area could find themselves stranded.
Many were following road condition’s on the patrol’s Facebook page, she said, which is updated frequently.