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Stillwater Emergency Management Prepares For Next Wave Of Winter Weather

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STILLWATER, Oklahoma -

Stillwater missed out on the ice Friday morning, but they are still ready for whatever may come overnight.

While Stillwater Emergency Management Director Rob Hill is relieved there weren't icy roads Friday morning, he said they will be working almost through the night again Friday night, ready for what Saturday may bring.

Salt and sand crews started running at about 3:30 a.m. Friday, putting down treatment on major roads in and out of town, especially Highway 51 and Highway 177. 

The traffic wasn't as busy because OSU shut down its campus for the day and Stillwater Public Schools were closed as well.

In addition to the emergency management office, the whole town was preparing and grocery stores were struggling to keep things like bread and eggs on the shelves.

"The accumulation that we've seen is less than a tenth of an inch, been on vehicles, nothing on trees power lines or anything that would cause us any concern," Hill said. 

Stillwater Emergency Management has a lot of tools at the responders' disposal, including this network of traffic cameras that provide a real-time picture of potentially deteriorating roads.

To figure how fast the roads are going downhill, emergency teams look at things like windshield wiper frequency on the cameras, and a separate real-time traffic flow map that includes indicators if traffic lights are red or green.

In a full-on emergency situation, they would "Stand Up" the office of emergency management.

That means calling in reps from city departments - police, fire, streets, electric - and volunteer organizations like the Red Cross and physically bringing them into the same room to coordinate.

And when it comes to communicating with the public, Facebook and Twitter are very important.

"Social media is one of the best outlets we've had to reach out to our community. We get a lot of interaction through Facebook and Twitter is a big source for us," Hill said. 

The full-time emergency management staff have had a full schedule Friday.

They had a video conference midday, they'll leave and come back to the center around 9 p.m., work until midnight or 1 a.m. and then return at 4 a.m. Saturday to check on what happened in the early morning hours.

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