Record Snowfall Reported As Blizzard Hits Oklahoma
TULSA, OK -- A blizzard warning will remain in effect through early Friday morning for much of northeastern Oklahoma, including Tulsa, Rogers, Wagoner, Mayes, Creek and Okmulgee counties.
As the storm wound down late Thursday night, News On 6 meteorologist Dick Faurot noted the system was "one for the record books."
"There has never been a blizzard warning posted for all of northeast Oklahoma before, and the word blizzard has only been used on two other occasions before today - and those only included some of the more northwestern counties in this part of the state," Faurot said.
Snowfall totals were still coming in as of about 11 p.m. Thursday, but 14.1 inches in Oklahoma City stands out as an all time record for a day and for a storm total with records going back to 1890, he said.
Over a foot of snow has been reported in western Pawnee county while the Tulsa metro area received from four to eight inches on Thursday as the massive winter storm system moved through the state.
In Oklahoma City, all interstates were closed by the Oklahoma Department of Safety at about 2:45 p.m. Numerous accidents and stranded vehicles are blocking all roadways. Around 4:15 p.m. the Turner Turnpike was also closed and around 6:30 p.m. the Creek Turnpike Near Tulsa was added to that list.
Governor Brad Henry declared a state of emergency for all 77 Oklahoma counties on Thursday afternoon.
Travel through much of the state is slick and hazardous. As of late Thursday night the snow was tapering off in western Oklahoma though drifting snow continues to pose a threat.
"Falling snow will be over Friday, but travel issues will remain even Friday, Christmas Day, with snow on the ground across a large area of the state," said Alan Crone, News On 6 meteorologist.
Residents are urged to avoid travel if at all possible until conditions improve.
Freezing rain, sleet and snow were falling in the western half of the state and moved eastward across the state through the day. Thursday night, the eastern half of Oklahoma was hit hard by this storm.
Will Rogers World Airport was closed early Thursday afternoon. The airport is planning to reopen Christmas day, but officials were not sure when this would happen. Numerous flights were canceled or delayed at Tulsa International Airport on Thursday as well.
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