The Shawnee News-Star
  • 2 deaths blamed on winter storm in Oklahoma

  • OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A winter storm swept through Oklahoma on Friday, bringing snow, ice and bone-chilling temperatures, and leading to at least two deaths.
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  • OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A winter storm swept through Oklahoma on Friday, bringing snow, ice and bone-chilling temperatures, and leading to at least two deaths.
    Oklahoma City police said an unidentified man was discovered dead under an overpass in an area where transients are known to congregate. On Thursday, a 5-year-old boy from Fort Gibson was killed when a van he was riding in overturned on an icy road.
    Preliminary estimates from the National Weather Service show that much of central and south-central Oklahoma, including Oklahoma City, received 2 to 4 inches of snow overnight. Northern portions of the state, including Enid and Ponca City, saw a dusting of snow.
    The roads in the Oklahoma City metro area were snow packed or slushy, and crews were out in force plowing.
    Schools, churches, businesses and government offices were closed across much of the state as forecasters warned of dangerous driving conditions.
    Far fewer people were driving along the roads and highways in the Oklahoma City metro area during the Friday morning rush hour, and the drivers who were out were taking things slow and cautious.
    "I know I can drive safely, but it's all the other overconfident drivers I worry about," said Jennifer McLead, who had stopped at a convenience store in Moore that was brimming with people purchasing items such as soda and fire wood.
    Will Rogers Airport in Oklahoma City and Tulsa International Airport canceled or delayed several flights Friday morning, and more than 3,700 power outages have been reported statewide mainly in southeastern Oklahoma.
    The storm led Gov. Mary Fallin to declare a state of emergency for all 77 counties Thursday. The declaration allows state agencies to make emergency purchases related to disaster relief and preparedness. It is also a first step toward seeking federal assistance should it be necessary.
    Forecasters say precipitation is expected to move out of the Oklahoma City metro area by midday Friday, but single-digit temperatures will blanket the state Friday night and into Saturday morning. Wind chills are expected to drop to below zero to the negative teens. Forecasters expect the low in Oklahoma City to be 3 degrees on Saturday, shattering the previous record low of 6 degrees for that date, set in 1909 and matched in 1950.
    Cities and schools prepared for the storm by canceling holiday events, while high school football championship games were postponed until next week.
    Jesse Walton was stocking up on bread, soup and water at a store in Edmond ahead of the storm. He described the scene there earlier in the week as resembling "Black Friday, because there was an ocean of people."
    Walton, a Guthrie resident, said he and his family vowed to be more prepared after getting stuck in a major winter storm that clobbered the state in early 2011. This time he snapped up some supplies and an armful of DVDs to make the time pass faster.
    Page 2 of 2 - "We were planning the bad all the way since Thanksgiving because I was just tired of being bored," he said.
    Some ranchers in the southwest part of Oklahoma say they're "fortunate" to have weathered a winter storm that brought more snow than ice.
    Rancher Joe Kelly said he woke up Friday to about four inches of snow and called the accumulation "wonderful" for the roughly 3,000 acres of wheat and cotton he farms near Altus.
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