Winter Storm Prompts Highway Closures In Parts Of Oklahoma

Monday, December 19th 2011, 8:32 pm
By: News 9

Snow is beginning to fall heavily across the Oklahoma Panhandle as an early winter storm makes its way through the region.

Oklahoma Highway Patrol dispatcher Pat Barton said U.S. 56 west out of Boise City and U.S. 287 north out of the town are closed because of the snow. Barton said there were numerous accidents, but no injuries reports, on snow-slickened roads.

U.S. 64 westbound out of Guymon is also closed due to white out and hazardous driving conditions, according to the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety.

Officials said U.S.412 westbound has been closed at Bryans Corner in Beaver County, and at the U.S. 83 junction, due to roads being closed leaving out of Texas County.

Cimarron County Emergency Management Director Cliff White said snow began falling in Boise City about noon, and moved eastward.

Emergency Management Director Harold Tyson in neighboring Texas County said the snowfall is increasing there and winds are gusting up to 35-40 miles per hour. He said he also had no reports of injuries and no reports of power outages.

Tyson offered some advice for drivers in the Oklahoma Panhandle area.

"They gotta just go real real show. They can't hurry with a visibility like it is. Just to find some place, where they can get to a shelter, is the best thing,"said Tyson. "Stay off the road. My understand is, from our last conference with the weather service, that we are expected to keep this snow up until about 10 o'clock in the morning."

The National Weather Service has forecast from a foot to a foot-and-a-half of total snowfall in Cimarron and western Texas counties.

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Officials with the Oklahoma Department of Transportation  offered the following tips to drivers, during snow and/or ice conditions:

• Check road conditions before getting out on the roads. Below is list of regional road conditions phone numbers and websites.

• Stay at least 200 feet behind road-clearing equipment; crews need room to maneuver and can engage plowing or spreading materials without notice.

• Be aware of "black ice," which looks wet on the roadway, but is actually a thin layer of ice.

The American Red Cross has opened a shelter in Guymon for anyone needing a warm place to stay overnight. It is located at Victory Memorial Methodist Church, at 523 N. Roosevelt.

You can call the Department of Public Safety at (888)-425-2385 to check current road conditions.