The state of Oklahoma began bracing for its first winter storm of the season, with Gov. Mary Fallin declaring a state of emergency in all 77 Oklahoma counties on Thursday. The declaration allows government agencies to make emergency purchases related to disaster relief and is also the first step in seeking federal assistance.
The National Weather Service predicted that the Ardmore area would primarily receive rain with a possibility of wintery mix Saturday afternoon. Though the threat is low, the city is currently making preparations in case the situation deteriorates.
“With winter weather the forecast changes so many times, and they can’t really say for sure what it’s going to do until the event starts happening,” Amber Wilson, City of Ardmore director of Emergency Management, said. “We have to get things ready, then wait and react if it happens.”
To ensure everyone is on the same page and has the most current information, various city officials gathered Thursday to attend a webinar hosted by the National Weather Service. After the presentation, the group discussed plans for the city’s sand trucks.
“I think being prepared is better than being unprepared,” Ardmore City Manager J.D. Spohn said. “I say get them ready, and we just keep our fingers crossed that we don’t need them.”
Street Superintendent Don Olive said the city and his crew are prepared for whatever comes their way.
“All the men know that when something like this comes in, you’re on call 24 hours a day,” Olive said. “We have a night crew that works a 12-hour shift and a day crew that works a 12-hour shift. Once it hits we make the phone call and get after it.”
He said the city currently has its sand reserves full with 750 tons of sand in stock. The amount of sand needed varies by the severity of the storm, but stock is refilled as soon as possible. The routes taken by the trucks are based upon the main thoroughfares and emergency routes.
“We have one truck that is designated just for emergency routes to get those first and make sure everything is open,” Olive said. “Last year we were very lucky and we didn’t need to use hardly anything. But let’s say we use 100 tons on this little storm - I’ll be ordering more, and we’ll get it stocked right back up.”
He said he expects the biggest problem areas for this storm to be bridges and overpasses.