Tulsa Winter Weather: Tips, Tricks, And Resources

This weekend will get extremely cold in Oklahoma, and it's important to have plans in place in case of an emergency. There are many things you can do to make sure you, your family, home, car, and pets are ready. Here is a guide from News On 6 that you can use to stay prepared. Bookmark this page for more tips and resources as they are added.

Sunday, January 21st 2024, 4:10 pm

By: News On 6


There are many things you can do to make sure you are ready for extreme winter weather.

This is a guide to get ready for below-freezing temperatures and winter storms. More tips, tricks, and resources will be added to this story.

See Full Forecast Here

How to Prepare My Home for a Freeze?

The City of Tulsa says it's important to protect your pipes from the cold.

Officials recommend protecting outside pipes by disconnecting garden hoses from your house and installing covers on outside faucets. Also, if a sink is along an outside wall of your home, allow a trickle of water to run and open the cabinet doors to allow warm air to circulate.

The National Weather Service says when temperatures drop to 28°F or lower for a couple of hours you should bring pets indoors, protect sensitive vegetation, protect outdoor pipes and let indoor faucets drip and to turn off automatic sprinklers.

How To Drive On Icy Roads?

Here's what the Tulsa Police Department says to do if you are driving on icy roads:

  1. Expect delays: Give yourself extra time to reach your destination. Roads will be slow, and stopping distances will be much longer.
  2. Drive with caution: Take it slow and steady. Even if the roads look clear, they could be icy in shaded areas, bridges, and overpasses.
  3. Avoid distractions: Put your phone down and focus on the road. Every millisecond of reaction time counts.
  4. Increase following distance: Leave plenty of space between you and the car in front of you. Sudden stops are a recipe for disaster on ice.
  5. Pump your brakes gently: Don't slam on the brakes! This will just lock up your wheels and cause you to skid.
  6. Turn smoothly: Avoid sharp turns and lane changes. Make all movements deliberate and gentle.
  7. Use cruise control sparingly: Cruise control can lock your car into a constant speed, making it harder to react to changing road conditions.
  8. Check your tires: Make sure your tires are properly inflated and have good tread depth. Worn tires lose traction in the cold and snow.
  9. Stay informed: Monitor weather reports and traffic updates before you head out.

Remember, safety is the top priority. If you can avoid driving altogether, that's the best option. But if you must head out, please follow these tips and drive defensively.

Winter Preparedness for People with Disabilities and Older Adults

FEMA also has a guide for people with disabilities, older adults, and those with preexisting health conditions who are especially vulnerable to the health impacts of power outages.

General Winter Preparedness Tips

  1. Have emergency contacts written down, programmed in your phone or placed somewhere readily available.
  2. Stock up on nonperishable foods.
  3. Make an emergency plan with your primary care physician to discuss prescription refills, treatments, oxygen, and anything else that may be impacted by a winter storm.
  4. Create a plan for alternative sources of power.
  5. Reach out to your utility company to inquire about becoming listed as a life-sustaining equipment customer.


Questions to Ask Yourself When Assessing Your Needs

Considerations

  1. Do I have any medical conditions or dietary requirements that require specific care or medication?
  2. What mobility needs or disabilities do I need to plan for?
  3. What specific aids or assistive devices do I need during an emergency?
  4. Are my caregivers aware of my emergency plans and needs?
  5. How will I ensure the safety and well-being of my pet or service animal?
  6. Have I established communication strategies with neighbors and local emergency services?
  7. Will I need help to transport my emergency supplies?
  8. Will I need help to put together my emergency plan and preparedness kit?
  9. Will I require an ASL interpreter or language and translation services?
  10. Have I identified an accessible evacuation route and shelter?
  11. What assistive aids for routine or daily living will I need if I am displaced longer than expected?


Where Can I Find The Outage Map For My Area of Oklahoma?

In the case of a power outage, things can become stressful, but the effects of freezing outdoor temps can elevate the risk of danger. It is important to have a plan for such an emergency, whether that be a generator, fireplace, or traveling to a second location.

Northeast Oklahoma has various power companies and electric co-operatives, many with overlapping areas of coverage. Below is a link to various outage maps.

PSO Outage Map

OG&E Outage Map

VVEC Outage Map

Indian Electric Cooperative (IEC) Outage Map

Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives Outage Map - (Note Several Smaller Co-ops Included)

What Are The Best Safety Tips For Driving In Freezing Weather?

AAA-Oklahoma is urging drivers to make sure their vehicles are ready for the cold before a polar plunge in temperatures arrives. AAA said the sudden onset of dangerously cold weather often leads to a spike in assistance calls, especially for dead batteries.

1) Before you hit the road, you should open your hood and check for any visible deterioration.

2} Always check the air pressure in your tires because, with every 10-degree drop, your tires can lose one pound of pressure.

3) Remember to find a safe place to pull over if you have trouble.

4) Always put on your hazard lights and stay in your vehicle.

AAA Spokeswoman Rylie Fletcher said the most important thing you can do is slow down because you don’t want to be in a situation where your car slides across the road.

If you must get on the road, make sure you allow extra time to get where you’re going.

Mechanic Shares Tips On Car Maintenance During Cold Weather

Brutally cold temperatures can take a toll on car batteries and tire pressure. A mechanic is sharing tips on what people can do to keep their vehicles healthy during the incoming frigid temperatures.

With chances of winter weather on the way, Tulsa Auto Doc operates Jeff McKelroy knows his calendar may start filling up.

Where Can I Find Warming Shelters Around Tulsa?

The City of Tulsa has several warming shelters ready ahead of the freezing weather coming our way. But the city said other organizations can also set up temporary shelters for those in need.

CLICK HERE for a full list of warming shelters in Oklahoma from OG&E.

Read below for a list of warming shelters in the Tulsa area:

The Salvation Army Center of Hope is located at 102 N. Denver. Contact at: 918-582-7201

Tulsa Dream Center opening a shelter on Saturday, accepts pets, 4122 W 55th Pl, Tulsa. Contact at 918-430-9984

John 3:16 Mission located at 506 N. Cheyenne. Contact at: 918-587-1186

Tulsa County Emergency Shelter is located at 2401 Charles Page Blvd. Contact at: 918-896-5591

Tulsa Day Center is located at 415 West Archer St. Contact at 918-583-5588

Where Can I Find Warming Shelters In Osage County?

Anyone who is unhoused, has a home that does not retain heat well, or has a home without a heat source is welcome to any of the following locations:

Pawhuska Bible Church at 1220 Lynn Ave. in Pawhuska, Oklahoma.

First Baptist Church at 302 E. 6th in Pawhuska, Oklahoma.

Osage County Dispatch and Osage County Sheriff’s Office Deputies have been briefed and are ready to respond to community members in need. The warming shelters will be open 24/7 if need

What are the signs of frostbite and hypothermia?

The forecast for a blast of freezing temperatures in Eastern Oklahoma has led many to ask about the dangers of frostbite and hypothermia.

According to the CDC, some symptoms of hypothermia are shivering, exhaustion, confusion, and memory loss. Signs of frostbite include white or grayish-yellow skin, skin that feels firm or waxy, and numbness. "Really the key when it comes to frostbite is prevention," said Dr. Clayton Nelson, an orthopedic hand surgeon with SSM Health. "Avoid cold exposure. Especially these extreme temperatures."

When the temperature is zero degrees Fahrenheit or below, it takes about 30 minutes for exposed skin to get frostbite.

In cases of frostbite, blood vessels constrict themselves to keep the core of a person's body as warm as possible. 

"When that happens, the extremities that are exposed are at risk because the lack of blood flow cannot warm those extremities appropriately," Nelson said.

Oklahoma's State Department of Health has an injury prevention program that shares tips for winter weather.

"Make sure you're wearing shoes that are sure-footed," said Christian Bonds, a coordinator for the program. "That you're not walking on ice if you have the option to go a different direction."

Bonds also said people respond differently to cold weather. An apparent symptom in one person may not be the same for another. But, if in doubt, seeking medical help is a smart option.

Bonds and Nelson also recommend getting people inside and away from the frigid temperatures if beginning to experience frostbite or hypothermia. Removing any wet or cold clothing and replacing it with dry clothing is important. But, both say not to overexpose the body to intense heat. Any heat sources should be warm to the touch, according to the CDC. 

"The rewarming process can stop some of that tissue damage, and if done appropriately, can stop further damage from occurring," said Nelson.

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