The Woodward News

February 21, 2013

Winter weather returns to area

Chris Cooper
Woodward News

Woodward, Okla. — Editor's Note; Snow began falling again overnight (Thursday a.m.) in the Woodward area along with sleet and occasional thunder from a thunderstorm. By early morning several roads were snowpacked and slick in spots. Snow was expected to continue through morning with significant accumulations in some areas.

Wednesday's winter weather in Northwest Oklahoma resulted in quite a few traffic incidents early in the day.

By 11 a.m., there had been 3 wrecks in Woods County alone.  The sheriff's offices in Woodward, Alfalfa, and Beaver counties were reporting 2 accidents each.  There were also single accidents reported in Dewey, Harper and Major counties.

Emergency Management Director Matt Lehenbauer said warmer ground temperatures helped to keep things from getting too slick, especially as the weather cleared up in the early afternoon.

"Roads are generally good, the ground temperature is about 40 so we've seen a lot of melt," Lehenbauer said.

However, the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety's road conditions website http://www.dps.state.ok.us/cgi-bin/weathermap.cgi listed all the Northwest Oklahoma and Panhandle counties as "slick in spots" into the late afternoon Thursday.

And conditions were expected to decline overnight.

ODOT Division 6 Maintenance Manager James Robison said "tonight, if we get the weather expected, conditions will deteriorate quickly."

"We're looking at another wave overnight tonight, possibly with freezing rain until midnight," Lehenbauer said.  "After midnight tonight we'll switch back to snow and sleet, with the possibility of some freezing rain in the morning. Temperatures will be below freezing between 6 p.m. tonight (Wednesday) to sunrise tomorrow (Thursday)."

Lehenbauer said weather officials expected the overnight precipitation to result in some patchy ice.

Robison assured area residents that ODOT "will have crews out as needed working on the roads."

In addition, Lehenbauer said that he expects any additional precipitation that may fall overnight to melt by this afternoon as the winter storm wanes.

"We're expecting most of this to come to an end after lunch time tomorrow, sometime between noon and sundown tomorrow," he said.

But Northwest Oklahoma's break from winter weather may be brief.

"We're keeping an eye on another system starting to show itself that might effect us late into Sunday, early Monday," Lehenbauer said. "We don't have a lot of data on it right now with our focus being on the current storm, but there's possibility of a winter mix late Sunday into Monday."