A massive surge of arctic air plunged temperatures in this area down into the teens by late last Thursday followed closely by a storm system that dumped about four inches of freezing rain, sleet and snow. The storm caused widespread driving problems and forced the closing of Sulphur and Davis schools.
Due to the long duration event, Sulphur and Davis schools were forced to close two days last week and so far for the first two days of this week as temperatures never got much above freezing, keeping secondary and rural roads and many city streets mostly iced up until Wednesday when temperatures are expected to moderate.
Many local people simply rode out the storm in their homes until roads were cleared and sanded.
There were no major accidents with injury in this area, but the Oklahoma Highway Patrol is advising motorists to exercise caution until ice has melted. People are also urged to use caution when walking.
City Of Sulphur Response
City of Sulphur and Oklahoma Department of Transportation crews worked almost around the clock for several days dealing with the ice and snow from the storms.
"Our crews have been out salting and sanding Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday," said Sulphur Public Works Director Jack Beaty on Monday.
"We also fixed a water leak on West First, and one on 12th and Vinita," he added.
Beaty was unable to say definitely that the leaks were cold-weather related.
Last week, Beaty said he had 10 people working, and seven working on Sunday.
As of Monday morning, Beaty said, they had run out of salt and sand, and were restocking.
"We are getting 10 more loads of sand and two more pallets of salt," Beaty explained.
He said the City uses a mixture of salt and sand. "The mixture is 750 pounds of salt to every dump truck load of sand.
Garbage trucks also were working Monday.
Beaty said they have been unable to turn on water service is some cases, because the lines might be frozen if water has been off for some time. He cautions citizens to try to keep their water from freezing.
All three Murray County Districts have sand trucks, and have been working on roads, Commissioners report.
"We've been sanding since Friday," Commissioner Jimmy Rackley said Monday. Two districts sanded all weekend, he added.
Rackley is frustrated at the fact that the weather remains below freezing. Of the sanding activity, he said, "It's like putting a Band-Aid on a bullet wound. We are chipping at it slowly but surely. If the sun would come out, it would move mountains."
Rackley cautions citizens to keep an eye on the weather situation for their safety.
"Folks just need to be careful. If they don't have to go, don't go. It can turn into a mess really quick," he said.
He sees no early end to the situation, and he expects crews to continue working. "We will be going full blast for the next few days," Rackley said.
Chickasaw National Recreation Area Superintendent Bruce Noble noted that "we had no visitors at the Nature Center Saturday, and we had only six on Sunday. This has definitely reduced our visitation."
Noble said crews are active making roads passable. "Most of the park roads are passable at this time (Monday). They are still working on the Perimeter Road."
He hoped to "be back in business" by Tuesday.
The park was open, but the offices were closed Monday. "Some people are unable to make it in to work," Noble explained.
Oklahoma Highway Patrol
The Oklahoma Highway Patrol Troop F area which covers Carter, Love, Garvin, Murray, Pontotoc, Johnston and Marshall counties, reported that from 7:00 a.m. last Thursday through 7:00 a.m. on Monday, Dec. 9, there were a total of 64 vehicle crashes that required investigation due to damage or minor injury. In 32 of those collisions, troopers reported minor injuries.
In addition, troopers said there were 97 total motorists' assists.
"Most U.S. and state highways have at least two lanes cleared," said Cpt. Ronnie Hampton, Troop F Commander and State Crash Team Coordinator in Ardmore. "The county roads continue to experience problems in the seven-county area of Troop F, mostly on hills and curves."
Hampton said drivers should continue to exercise caution until the temperatures have melted the ice away from the roads. "We were fortunate that no motorists or their passengers were seriously injured during this winter storm," he said.