Rachael Van Horn
Woodward, Okla. — Update: Due to road conditions and brutal cold, school continues to be out on Wednesday in much of the area, including all of the schools in Woodward County.
Much of the public did remain at home for the most part Tuesday as a winter storm marched through Northwest Oklahoma.
Schools closed as well as higher learning institutions Tuesday, keeping large numbers off the roads. The Woodward County Courthouse was also closed on Tuesday.
Temperatures ranged early Tuesday morning around 27 in the region. The high Tuesday was 31 degree, according to the National Weather Service.
As people woke up Tuesday morning in the panhandle and Woodward however, the storm appeared to some with jobs that have less opportunity for snow days, to have produced less snow than expected and they trudged off to work.
In Woodward, early morning saw about 3 inches of the white stuff on the ground and less than that in the Laverne area. But as the clock struck about 9 a.m. the real heavy snow began to fall.
As of noon, the Laverne area had received about 4 to 5 inches and Woodward about 6 inches, according to local reports.
According to the Oklahoma Department of Transportation, road conditions are slick and extremely hazardous. Travel was still being discouraged late Tuesday.
However, if you have to travel, they suggest calling the Department of Transportation so they can advise you of road conditions to your destination.
Earlier though, the less than expected snow overnight gave some more hope of getting out early and getting work done.
According to oilfield contractor, Evelyn Dixon, that was before it began looking a little more like a blizzard.
As the morning dragged along, Dixon found herself struggling to get to some oil wells located on lease roads that can be difficult on good days, she said. Add some snow and basically no visibility and her day became longer than she had expected.
“You just can’t see when you’re driving at all,” Dixon said. “It’s white out conditions out here.”
That sentiment was mirrored by Harper County employee, Mark Jones, who set about grading highly traveled county roads Tuesday around 10 a.m.
“You better watch out because you can’t tell where the road ends and the ditch begins,” he said.
Snow accumulations were predicted to begin around 1 a.m. and may have seemed delayed for a few hours as the front contracted a little, said meteorologist Wayne Ruff of the National Weather Service in Norman.
“Contracted means it started later but will end earlier,” he said.
But that doesn’t mean good weather is on the horizon any time soon, he said.
Temperatures overnight will reach 2 degrees with winds up near 28 miles per hour, Ruff said.
That makes for some dangerous wind chills for both humans and animals alike.
“Especially I should mention the wind chills on Thursday,” he said. “On Wednesday the wind chills will be like negative 5 to negative 10 degrees. But on Thursday, they could be the coldest we’ve seen this year so far at minus 15 to 20 degrees.”
That isn’t the only “good” news, Ruff said.
More snow, up to five or six more inches could fall before the week is over, he said.
“Mostly that will happen late Thursday and early Friday morning with about three inches then and then about another three to five inches could fall on Saturday morning,” he said.
By early evening on Wednesday one possible injury accident had been reported on U. S. Highway 412 east of Woodward.