By Cass Rains, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle
ENID, Okla. —
Northwest Oklahoma remains under a winter weather advisory or winter storm warning until noon today.
Through Wednesday evening, Enid had received 3 inches of snow, according to the National Weather Service. Alva received 5 inches, while Woodward recorded 1.5 inches.
Mike Honigsberg, certified director of Enid/Garfield County Emergency Management, said the snow was much-needed in the area.
“I thought it was very good snow,” he said, noting the snow amounted to about a half inch of rain. “Our soil temperatures are in the upper-30s and that’s why that snow will melt right into the ground, and that’s exactly what we needed.”
He said the Enid area likely would be safe from ice buildup and hazardous conditions if the system tracks where its expected.
“I think that will occur south of us, but if that wavers north we could be under the gun,” Honigsberg said. “We’re hoping and praying it stays on track the way it’s forecast at the moment. ”
The winter storm warning includes Alfalfa, Grant, Woods and Woodward counties, and is in effect until noon. It was issued Wednesday afternoon by NWS, and 3-6 inches of snow was expected, with higher amounts possible.
The winter weather advisory includes Major, Garfield, Blaine and Kingfisher counties in northwest Oklahoma
Two to 3 inches of snow was received in Garfield County during the first wave of snow Wednesday. Up to another 3 inches was forecast today for the middle portion of the state, including Major, Garfield, Dewey, Custer, Blaine, Kingfisher and Canadian counties.
NWS forecast for the Enid area today calls for snow before noon, then a chance of rain and snow. The high temperature is expected to be 38, with a low tonight of 17.
For areas in the winter weather advisory, NWS warned, “Even small amounts of ice and snow can make roads and sidewalks slick and dangerous.”
People included in the winter storm warning were urged to avoid travel if possible.
“Be sure you can take care of yourself and your family if you lose electrical power. Monitor weather forecasts and information,” NWS advised.
Garfield County Sheriff Jerry Niles said his office received reports of vehicles sliding into bar ditches early Wednesday morning and several traffic control signs being run over. No major injuries were reported.
Niles advised people who had to travel to drive defensively and drive below the speed limit.
“Make sure they leave a greater distance between vehicle,” he advised motorists who had to travel in the winter weather. “Make sure they have a full tank of gas.”
Enid Police Department Sgt. Richard Sutton said the department responded to 10 accidents between 6 a.m. and 5 p.m. Wednesday.
He advised against travel as a second wave of precipitation began.
“Stay home if you can,” Sutton said. “If you do have to go anywhere, give yourself extra time and allow extra space between vehicles.”
Because of early precipitation from the systems, Sutton advised motorists to expect icy conditions on interior roads this morning.
Oklahoma Department of Public Safety classified roads in northwest Oklahoma and the Panhandle as “slick in spots,” as of 5:20 p.m. Wednesday.
Oklahoma Highway Patrol Troop J, which covers Garfield, Blaine, Kingfisher, Major, Woods, Alfalfa and Grant counties, advised drivers to use “extreme caution.”
“Sleet and snow mix falling in Woods, Alfalfa, Blaine and Major counties. Possibility of slick spots remains in Woods, Alfalfa, Blaine Garfield, Grant and Major counties,” according to the DPS website.
Troop J troopers responded to several morning accidents related to the weather, but no major injuries were reported.
Troop I, which covers the Panhandle and Harper, Ellis and Woodward counties, warned of wet and slick spots on roadways.
“Use caution on bridges and overpasses. Light to moderate fog mixed with falling snow is limiting visibility in some locations. Rains, sleet and snow are being reported in Cimarron, Texas, Beaver, Harper, Ellis and Woodward counties,” according to the DPS site.
NWOSU announced all three of its campus sites in Alva, Enid and Woodward will close today.