Snow, ice hit northwestern Oklahoma, spare other sections


Monday, February 2nd 2004, 12:00 am
By: News On 6



OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ A storm system took an unexpected northwest turn Sunday, sparing most of Oklahoma from heavy snowfall but causing headaches for motorists.

Snow, freezing rain and sleet hit northwestern and north-central Oklahoma Sunday morning and afternoon. Snowfall amounts ranged from a half-inch in Enid, Mutual, Ponca City, Shattuck and Woodward to 3.5 inches in Freedom.

The frozen precipitation contributed to dozens of accidents in western and northern Oklahoma, but there were no reports of fatalities, according to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

Ice partly contributed to an accident that injured a Guymon woman and three children who were in her sport utility vehicle.

Maria Teresa Montoya was applying makeup when the vehicle left U.S. 54 and rolled after she tried to steer it back onto the road.

Montoya, who wasn't wearing a seat belt, was thrown 27 feet. The 23-year-old suffered head, internal and arm injuries and was listed in stable condition at Texas County Memorial Hospital in Guymon.

The children were treated for arm and head injuries and were released from the hospital.

In Enid, residents snatched up what they could at Wal-Mart on Saturday before the storm.

``Yesterday, we were busy getting stocked up on grocery items,'' said Dawn Kornele, assistant manager at the Enid store.

Some of the more popular items were food and sleds, Kornele said.

It was a different story in central, southern and eastern Oklahoma. Temperatures remained in the 40s and 50s for much of the day and heavy rain moved through before the colder air arrived, the National Weather Service said.

There were reports of vehicles slipping off Interstate 40 into ditches in western Oklahoma Sunday night.

Bruce Thoren, a meteorologist with the weather service, said the precipitation was forecast to continue in parts of the state until about midnight.

Oklahomans should get a brief respite from precipitation on Monday, when skies clear from the west and temperatures rebound into the 30s and 40s.

Warmer temperatures are forecast for Tuesday, too, but a more potent winter storm is headed for the state, forecasters said.

Highs will climb into the 30s and 40s Wednesday and Thursday but rain and snow are possible statewide through Friday.