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The Shawnee News-Star
  • Wintry blast expected

  • While it was still sunny and 52 degrees in Shawnee Wednesday afternoon, the National Weather Service was issuing a Winter Storm Warning for most of the state to begin at 6 a.m. today and continue through 6 p.m. Friday as a major winter weather event was forecasted.
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  • While it was still sunny and 52 degrees in Shawnee Wednesday afternoon, the National Weather Service was issuing a Winter Storm Warning for most of the state to begin at 6 a.m. today and continue through 6 p.m. Friday as a major winter weather event was forecasted.
    Don Lynch, Shawnee's emergency management director, said the latest models for the pending storm Wednesday indicated there would be two waves of winter precipitation affecting this area, the first starting this morning and ending this afternoon with light freezing rain.
    Up to 1/10th of an inch of accumulation is possible today, he said, which should first impact bridges and overpasses.
    The second wave is expected to begin about 10 p.m. and continue through midday Friday, he said, with mostly sleet changing over to snow by storm's end.
    "Travel conditions will be dangerous area-wide," he said.
    Lynch said up to one-fourth inch of ice and up to 3 inches of snow is possible across Pottawatomie County, with winds and freezing temperatures creating very cold wind chills.
    "Temperatures are expected to remain below freezing until Tuesday afternoon next week," he said.
    More specific information from the NWS shows the following was expected, although conditions can change:
    • Lincoln County: Snow accumulations of 2 to 4 inches
    • Northeast Pottawatomie County: Snow accumulations of up to 2 inches
    • Pottawatomie County: Ice accumulations up to one-quarter of inch.
    • Northern Seminole County: Ice accumulations up to one-quarter of an inch and even more towards southern Seminole County.
    Ahead of the storm, city of Shawnee and Pottawatomie County crews took advantage of the nicer weather to check their equipment and prepare road graders as well as salt and sand trucks.
    Tecumseh City Manager Jimmy Stokes said their salt and sand equipment is "up and running" and they're just waiting to see what falls and when. When roads are treated, Stokes said city crews will treat the main roadways first — Rangeline, Highland, 12th, 13th and Ninth Street, as well as Broadway/Gordon Cooper Drive. State ODOT crews handle Walnut/SH 9, he said.
    Crews will be on standby to work as needed, Stokes said.
    Frank Loman, streets superintendent for the city of Shawnee, said the city is ready for this icy blast.
    Their efforts will depend on what type of precipitation arrives.
    "We'll play it by ear," he said.
    Loman said the main roadways — MacArthur, Harrison, Farrall, Independence, Wallace and Federal, are among the first roadways they will treat as needed to assist emergency personnel.
    Because of the pending storm, an event scheduled Saturday in Shawnee has been called off.
    The program scheduled 11 a.m. Saturday at the Shawnee Veterans Memorial to commemorate the 72nd anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor has been cancelled.
    Page 2 of 3 - But another scheduled event in Shawnee is going on as planned Friday. The Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art's annual Gala will take place as planned regardless of the weather conditions, officials announced. That gala will begin 6 p.m. Friday at the Museum, located on the campus of St. Gregory's University.
    Lynch said area residents who may be traveling to Stillwater for the Bedlam Game on Saturday to remember that road conditions will be dangerous.
    "A pocket of heavier snow is expected to affect the Stillwater area with 4 to 6 inches of snow possible," he said, adding any snow that falls will not melt until next week.
    Officials with the Salvation Army in Shawnee indicated The Red Cross will be the lead organization for any disaster shelter services that may be needed as a result of this winter storm, however the Salvation Army is on standby to response as needed once the weather arrives.
    Ahead of the storm, the Red Cross also provided these safety tips:
    • Avoid driving when conditions include sleet, freezing rain or drizzle, snow or dense fog.
    • Before tackling strenuous tasks in cold temperatures, consider your physical condition, the weather factors and the nature of the task.
    • Protect yourself from frostbite and hypothermia by wearing warm, loose-¬fitting, lightweight clothing in several layers. Stay indoors, if possible.
    • Check on your animals. If possible, bring them indoors.
    • Watch for frostbite and hypothermia, which are cold-related emergencies that may quickly become life or limb threatening.
    • Preventing cold-related emergencies includes not starting an activity in, on, or around cold water unless you know you can get help quickly in an emergency. Be aware of the wind chill. Dress appropriately and avoid staying in the cold too long. Wear a hat and gloves when appropriate with layers of clothing. Drink plenty of warm fluids or warm water but avoid caffeine and alcohol. Stay active to maintain body heat. Take frequent breaks from the cold. Avoid unnecessary exposure of any part of the body to the cold. Get out of the cold immediately if the signals of hypothermia or frostbite appear.
    • Signals of frostbite include: Lack of feeling in the affected area; skin that appears waxy, is cold to the touch, or is discolored (flushed, white or gray, yellow or blue).
    • Hypothermia is another cold-related emergencies. Hypothermia may quickly become life threatening. Hypothermia is caused by the cooling of the body caused by the failure of the body's warming system. The goals of first aid are to restore normal body temperature and to care for any conditions while waiting for EMS personnel.
    • Signals of hypothermia include— shivering, numbness, glassy stare; apathy, weakness, impaired judgment; loss of consciousness.
    Page 3 of 3 - The Red Cross also recommends that individuals and families prepare for winter storms by:
    • Assembling an Emergency Preparedness Kit: Pack a winter-specific supply kit that includes a warm coat, hat, mittens or gloves, and water-resistant boots, along with extra blankets and extra warm clothing. Sand or non-clumping kitty litter is good to have on hand to help make walkways or steps less slippery. Additionally, make sure you have a first aid kit and essential medications, canned food and can opener, bottled water, flashlights and a battery-powered radio with extra batteries in your home in the event of a power outage.
    • Preparing Your Home and Car: Winterize your vehicle and keep the gas tank full, which will help to keep the fuel line from freezing. Make sure your home is properly insulated by installing storm windows or covering windows with plastic from the inside to help keep cold air out. Maintain heating equipment and chimneys by having them cleaned and inspected every year. Running water, even at a trickle, helps to prevent pipes from freezing.
    Watch for updates on www.news-star.com or on the News-Star's Facebook page.

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