Five Years Later: Remembering Oklahoma's Christmas Eve Blizzard Of 2009
OKLAHOMA CITY - Five years ago today Oklahoma was hit by record setting amounts of snowfall that brought most of the state to a standstill.
The blizzard on December 24, 2009 brought with it 14 inches of snowfall in 24 hours for Oklahoma City setting a new record that had stood since 1890.
The wind played a major role in the 2009 storm. Visibility was an issue as drivers tried to navigate the roadways. Typical snow storms don't have strong winds at the same time as the snow is falling.
In order to qualify as a blizzard, the National Weather Service specifies sustained wind or frequent gusts of 35 miles per hour or greater, accompanied by falling and/or blowing snow, frequently reducing visibility to less than a quarter of a mile for three hours or longer.
The blizzard forced thousands of Oklahoma to change their Christmas travel plans, but also stranded many people on roads and highways where they were forced to leave their vehicles behind.
Tulsa received 5.6 inches of snowfall, a record for Christmas Eve. The 6 inches on the ground for Christmas Day tied a record first set in 2002 from snow still on the ground from a December 23rd snowstorm that year.
The storm knocked out power to thousands of Oklahomans, meaning they celebrated the holiday with no lights or heat.