Oklahoma governor declares emergency ahead of expected storm

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin has declared a state of emergency ahead of an expected storm that could dump snow, ice and freezing rain on the state.

The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm watch through Saturday night for southwestern Oklahoma, including Oklahoma City.

The weather service says up to 4 inches (10 centimeters) of snow, in addition to a thin layer of ice, could fall in the area.

Fallin's order issued Thursday 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 and waives licensing requirements for vehicles bringing in materials and supplies for storm relief.

The executive order will be in effect for 30 days.

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Oklahoma inmate walks away from halfway house in Ponca City

PONCA CITY, Okla. (AP) — The Oklahoma Department of Corrections says in inmate who walked away from a halfway house in Ponca City remains at large.

The department said in a news release Friday that 45-year-old Paul Hartsell Jr. walked away from Bridgeway Inc. on Sunday and stole a van owned by the halfway house.

The house is described as a community housing center that provides drug and alcohol treatment.

Hartsell was convicted in Oklahoma County of domestic assault and battery and second-degree burglary.

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