Altus and the surrounding area saw light to moderate snowfall this morning, but other parts of the state saw a but more accumulation. Today’s snow was enough to hide slick spots left from refreezing moisture on the roadways.
Although this is more snow than Altus has seen in recent years, the 2-4 inches of the white stuff left from the Christmas day flurries is less than some parts of Oklahoma received, and more is possibly on the way for New Years Eve, but unlike the Christmas storm, no blizzard-like conditions are anticipated with the system that is predicted to hit on Monday.
In fact, several Oklahoma meteorologists say they believe that only a minimal amount of winter precipitation will be associated with the approaching system.
Jonathan Kurtz, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Norman, said the approaching storm will be fueled by “a pretty decent upper level system that will spin down the Pacific coast this Sunday, bringing a cold front across our area around Monday and Tuesday.”
However, Kurtz said that the forecast models for the storm are still evolving, which makes it “hard to tell at this point if we’ll see any kind of snow accumulations, but right now it looks like it will be more of a wintery mix type of situation.”
He said it is also difficult to determine right now exactly what type of precipitation to expect, whether it will be rain, sleet or snow, because it depends on when the precipitation falls.
During the day on both Monday and Tuesday, temperatures are not expected to dip below freezing for highs in the afternoon.
“Any precipitation that starts falling then will either fall as sleet and melt as it hits the surface or fall as rain for the most part,” he said. “Where it gets tricky is overnight the temps will fall into the 20s, so that any precipitation that falls then will come as either snow or sleet, which could lead to icy roads.” “Even if it’s raining during the day or you get a rain/sleet mix, then during the day and afternoon hours it may still be liquid on the ground, but then as you get into the night time or get into the early morning hours, those roads could ice over,” Kurtz said. “Especially secondary roads that are not treated, they could be very slick, especially during the morning commute or evening commute.”
As with any altered road conditions, Kurtz urges drivers to take it slower than normal and be ready for a patch of ice even if you don’t see it, because black ice is certainly possible.
He even encouraged people to “be ready to adjust your travel plans,” in case the forecast should change and more dangerous winter precipitation becomes expected.
For those who do venture out, be prepared. Make sure you have a cell phone that’s fully charged up with you and a charger, so that you can call for assistance if something should happen. Also be sure to have a basic vehicle emergency kit with a flashlight and blanket and things to keep you warm and comfortable until assistance can arrive.