Storm system drops snow on Oklahoma

Monday, December 31st 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Oklahoma will start the New Year under a blanket of snow.

Up to 3 inches of snow fell across the state on Sunday, and more of the white stuff was forecast for New Year's Day.

On Monday morning, most major travel routes had been cleared and no significant traffic problems were reported by the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

On Sunday, snow and icy roadways contributed to at least one fatal traffic collision, and isolated accidents were reported across the state.

An upper level system moved across the central plains Sunday, bringing moisture into a mass of frigid Canadian air, said Ken Gallant, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Norman. Eastern and central Oklahoma had the highest snowfall accumulations.

``Amounts haven't been real heavy, we've had some reports of about an inch or two,'' Gallant said. He said Cordell and a few other locations had reported up to two inches of snow by midday.

By the end of the day up to 3 inches were reported in some locations.

A winter storm watch was in effect for Monday night and New Year's Day across the Oklahoma Panhandle. Forecasters said the storm could produce widespread snow across the far western Panhandle and western Oklahoma by New Year's Day.

Snow accumulations could reach four inches, according to the weather service.

A dispatcher for the Washita County sheriff's department in Cordell said deputies had responded to a few accidents Sunday but no serious injuries were reported.

A dispatcher for the Oklahoma Highway Patrol in Clinton said troopers had responded to 18 accidents, none of them fatal.

The patrol said a Texas man was killed Sunday afternoon following a collision on the Indian Nation Turnpike in Pittsburg County in southeastern Oklahoma.

James S. Roth, 63, of Garland, Texas, was killed when his southbound vehicle veered out of control at 2:30 p.m., crossed the median and struck an oncoming vehicle, troopers said. Roth was pronounced dead at the scene.

Troopers say it was snowing at the time and the roadway was icy.

Several cars were involved in a collision along Interstate 40 near Weatherford, tying up the highway. There were no injuries.

Roads in the far western Panhandle and northwestern Oklahoma were packed with snow and created slick driving conditions, said Mary Anne Burdo, chief dispatch officer for the OHP in Guymon.

Burdo said Troop I _ which patrols the Panhandle and Harper, Ellis and Woodward counties _ responded to three non-injury accidents Sunday afternoon.