Snowfall Blankets Much Of Oklahoma

Wednesday, December 26th 2007, 1:22 pm
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Snowfall blanketed a large portion of Oklahoma on Wednesday, adding to what has already been a record year for precipitation in the central portion of the state.

About an inch of snow was expected in Oklahoma City as a low-pressure system centered in north Texas pushed its way northeast across Oklahoma and combined with a cold front across central and western portions of the state, said Daryl Williams, a forecaster with the National Weather Service in Norman.

Because the ground is warm from mild weather the past few days, there was little chance for a major ice event like the one that pounded the state two weeks ago.

``You may see the usual suspects with icing of bridges and overpasses, but we're not expecting significant accumulations throughout the area,'' Williams said. ``There has been some freezing drizzle and a little bit of sleet, but it's mostly snow at this point.

``The good news is that by this evening, it should be done.''

Wednesday's snowfall added slightly to what is already a record level of rainfall for the year in central Oklahoma. As of midnight Tuesday, Oklahoma City had received 56.84 inches of rain for the year, more than the previous record of 52.03 set in 1908.

``We'll have modest amounts of rainfall out of this system,'' Williams said. ``It usually takes quite a bit of snow to amount to any liquid equivalent. So this will add to it, but not much.''

Statewide, Oklahoma has received 41.16 inches of rainfall this year, nearly 5 inches more than normal, making it the 9th wettest year since 1921, according to the Oklahoma Climatological Survey. Meanwhile, the Panhandle and southeast Oklahoma are below average rainfall totals, the Climatological Survey reported.

Daytime temperatures ranged from the lower to upper 30s across most of the state Wednesday afternoon, but were expected to dip below freezing overnight.

Road crews in Oklahoma City were preparing for the worst.

``I'm probably one of the few folks that doesn't like a white Christmas,'' said Mike Degiacomo, Oklahoma City's superintendent of street maintenance

About a dozen crews worked Christmas night to prepare for the snow, which arrived later than expected, Degiacomo said. He said the crews were busy spreading salt on bridges and overpasses Wednesday afternoon.

``The snow is a little heavier than they anticipated. We're still getting some pavement temperatures that are up, so it's not really an issue with the roadways as of yet,'' he said. ``It just depends on where the temperatures go and how much of this stuff we get. We're talking high 20s tonight, and when you get to that temperature, if it's water, obviously it will turn to ice.

``We'll have crews on tonight just in case we need them.''