The Woodward News

Local News

January 1, 2013

Weather causes some travel issues

Woodward, Okla. — Counties in Northwest Oklahoma and the Panhandle ended 2012 with a some winter weather that complicated many New Year's travel plans.

Woodward Emergency Manager Matt Lehenbauer said that most of the region had seen one or more inches of snow and sleet accumulation by early Monday afternoon.

"Generally there's been an accumulation of around an inch to an inch and a half in Harper County, northern Ellis County, northern Woodward County, and western Woods County," Lehenbauer said. "The accumulation totals tend to go up from there, Beaver County in the panhandle received around 2 inches, there's almost 3 inches in Texas County."

He said other areas to the farther north and west received even more precipitation.

However, Lehenbauer says areas towards central Oklahoma got off easier.

"As you move southeast the weather winds down into mainly rain and sleet mix, and its primarily rain towards the Oklahoma City metro area," he said.

James Robison, maintenance manager for Division 6 with the Oklahoma Department of Transportation, expressed the travel troubles that have been a result of this wintry mix Northwest Oklahoma received.

"Cimarron County has gotten the most snow, last thing I saw it'd received 5 to 6 inches," Robison said. "Their roads are slick and hazardous. Texas County has slick places because of slush, and the same goes for Beaver County. In Harper County 90 percent of roads are wet, and that's the same for Woodward, Ellis, Woods, Alfalfa and Major counties as well."

At 2 p.m. Robison said the worst of the weather might be behind us for the time being.

"The precipitation is pretty much winding down," he said. "It should end before dark. The forecast says we shouldn't receive much more precipitation after this."

But while the precipitation may have stopped, hazardous road conditions are expected to persist into the new year.

"If it gets cold enough tonight, the roads could possibly refreeze and cause problems on Jan 1," Robison said.

Because of that Robison said ODOT crews would be out working overnight Monday.

"We'll have crews out clearing the roads, especially in Cimarron and Texas Counties. Those 2 counties will have crews out working all night, and the rest of the counties will have crews out as needed," he said.

Lehenbauer reasserted Robison's concern over road conditions, saying that overnight Monday would be "problematic as we're expecting the temperature to drop to around 20 degrees. We're expecting a high of about 30 degrees for Tuesday, so we're anticipating slick roads then, but we're not expecting anymore precipitation."

The emergency manager said that roads are expected to improve around Wednesday when temperatures are expected to reach around 40 degrees and maintain that temperature for the remainder of the week.

Until then, travelers are encouraged to use caution when driving.

Several areas reported traffic accidents Monday resulting from poor road conditions, including one jack-knifed semi at around 6 a.m. in Beaver, 3 reports of car accidents caused by the weather in Woods County, 4 accident reports in Woodward County, and 10 reports of vehicles slid off road in Cimarron County, the area which received the most snow.

You can keep updated on Oklahoma road conditions online by visiting http://www.dps.state.ok.us/cgi-bin/weathermap.cgi, or by phone by calling (405) 425-2385 or 1-888-425-2385.

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