Edmond commuters faced bitterly cold temperatures and slippery spots Wednesday morning, but they did not have to maneuver through up to 8 inches of snow and higher drifts as some forecasters had predicted.
Last week, the National Weather Service issued a special weather statement alerting the public to the potential for a whale of a winter storm on Christmas Day. During the ensuing days through Monday, predicted snowfall totals for central Oklahoma crept higher, with 3-4 inches on the low end and 8 inches and locally higher amounts on the upper end.
But Tuesday morning, Oklahoma City meteorologists lowered the expected totals to 1-2 inches locally. Wednesday morning, it appeared Edmond was on the low end of that range. The bulk of the storm tracked further south than expected.
However, a wintry mix that included ice and in some areas sleet contributed to car crashes in parts of the metro area. On Tuesday, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol responded to a 21-vehicle pile-up on Interstate 40 westbound at the I-35 junction near Reno Boulevard. At the time, I-40 in western Oklahoma from the Texas state line into Oklahoma City was slick and hazardous.
It seems many Edmond residents heeded advice from meteorologists and law enforcement urging potential motorists to stay off the roads. Edmond police officers responded to a lone non-injury accident call Tuesday at about 11 a.m. at 15th Street and Boulevard, said Jenny Monroe, spokeswoman for the Edmond Police Department.
Additionally, there were two traffic hazard calls on Christmas Day, Monroe said. Both were vehicles in the road or on the side of the road, she said.
Before the storm arrived, meteorologists were concerned about the prospects for power outages. Wednesday morning, Edmond Electric’s dataVoice outage status map showed zero calls from the utility’s 33,833 customers.
Another concern was and is the potential harm of cold air to humans, animals and pipes. At 9:53 a.m. Wednesday, it was 17 degrees in the Edmond area, according to the National Weather Service. The wind chill was 7 degrees.
When water freezes, it expands. And when water freezes in a pipe if it expands enough the pipe bursts and water escapes, potentially causing serious damage. In southern states the temperature alert threshold is 20 degrees, according to The Weather Channel. Preventative measures include opening cabinet doors below sinks and letting faucets drip. Opening a faucet provides relief from the excessive pressure that builds up between the faucet and the ice blockage when freezing occurs.
Regarding the coming days, Thursday’s high will be near 38 and the low Thursday night near 24, according to the National Weather Service. Friday’s high will be above freezing — near 36 — with a low Friday night around 20.
Weekend highs will be near 40 Saturday and near 47 Sunday.
In case you’re curious about New Year’s Eve, Monday’s high will be near 42 and Monday night’s low near 29. New Year’s Day’s high will be near 39. No precipitation is in the National Weather Service’s forecast through Monday night.
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