Oklahoma has a history of extreme weather conditions; storms come when they will. It's been known to happen that a seemingly typical event — within moments —has turned into the most drastic of situations.
Oklahoma has a history of extreme weather conditions; storms come when they will. It's been known to happen that a seemingly typical event — within moments —has turned into the most drastic of situations. At other times the forecast will alert a looming apocalyptic encounter that results in little more than a spring rain shower — or nothing at all.
Locals will watch and wait for this weekend's storms to determine which scenario plays out.
As the state prepares for what-if, having a tried-and-true battle plan for the worst is never a bad idea.
Gov. Mary Fallin has already declared a state of emergency for the entire state ahead of the approaching storms.
Winter storms, snow, ice, and freezing rain are expected to impact different parts of the state through the weekend. Because the weather event may include dangerous road conditions and power outages, this state of emergency is being issued in advance of the storm to allow emergency management and other partners to preposition resources.
Fallin’s disaster emergency order 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.
Whether residents get to have a snow day or not, if things get bad the Shawnee Streets Department is ready to implement its Snow and Ice Removal Plan, according to the city website, at shawneeok.org.
This plan is a prioritization system for clearing streets and supporting the emergency response system (fire, police and emergency medical services) during snow and ice events. The Department’s ability to clear routes depends heavily on the amount and type of winter weather received.
The department has eight employees, which will be split into two shifts working 12 hours. There are 10 pieces of equipment available to clear streets. Employees of other City departments who possess a Commercial Driver’s License will be used to augment the Street Department staff. The crews use a sand and salt mixture, calcium chloride and truck mounted snow plows to clear streets during an event. Sand and other aggregates are also used for some specific applications such as hilly or inclined roadways. The City has plenty of these materials on hand.
A crew will be on-call at night and on weekends to respond to emergency requests for assistance from the City’s E-911 dispatch center. The Shawnee Police Department is very good to relay road conditions via dispatch to our crews so that they can get a good handle on the event.
While each situation is different and some discretion will be used by the Street Superintendent to task crews, snow routes were developed to prioritize which streets will receive snow removal operations in the most effective and efficient manner.
The established priorities are generally:
First priority is given to bridges and overpasses as they tend to freeze before other areas. Also addressed in this category are hills and inclines on roadways. This includes the following locations: Kickapoo at I-40; the Lake Road Bridge at the North Canadian River; Gordon Cooper Bridge at the North Canadian River; Farrall at U.S. 177; MacArthur west of Harrison; Federal west of Harrison, Dunbar at Oklahoma; Center and Federal; Kickapoo north of Farrall; Independence at Sequoyah; Independence at Kickapoo; MacArthur east and west of Harrison; Leo and Lake Road; Leo at Federal; Main from Bryan to Kickapoo; and Broadway and Wallace southbound.
The second priority will be all arterial streets around the City including the Twin Lakes area. These streets include Kickapoo, MacArthur, Harrison, Farrall, Bryan, Highland, Wallace, Federal, 4th Street, Mall Drive, Independence, Walker Road, Clearpond Road, Stevens Road, Patterson Road, Homer Lane, Belcher Road, and Lake Road. While these streets are being addressed, other crews will focus their attention to emergency locations such as the hospital, fire stations, police station, and REACT EMS stations.
The third priority is interior streets and parking lot access to other City facilities This would include Main, Broadway, Center, Kennedy, Beard, 10th Street from Kickapoo to Harrison, 9th Street from Kickapoo to Minnesota, 7th Street from Kickapoo to Minnesota, and the City Hall and Community Center parking lots, time and conditions permitting. The lowest priority would be internal streets within housing additions.
Additional tips for residents:
Do not try to pass plows that are moving in the roadway. It is very dangerous and can cause an accident. Park vehicles on driveways or in garages away from curb lines whenever possible. Do not shovel or blow snow into the street causing a traffic obstruction. Never allow children to play in snow piles along curb lines.