OKC weather: Freezing rain, sleet causes closures, icy roads Monday

Editor's note: For the latest Oklahoma weather updates for Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2023, click here.


Sleet and freezing rain moved into central Oklahoma Monday morning, with ice accumulating on city roads and worsening travel conditions during the first wave of a winter storm expected to drastically drop temperatures throughout the state this week.

Meteorologists with the National Weather Service were monitoring sleet showers as they passed through Altus from northwest Texas early Monday and spread over southern and central Oklahoma.

Around 8:30 a.m., freezing drizzle was reported across parts of southeast Oklahoma, including Ada and Durant.

By 9 a.m., a wintry mix of sleet and freezing rain, worsened by heavy wind, had slickened roadways throughout the Oklahoma City metro, affecting travel for commuters Monday.

The icy precipitation persisted throughout Monday morning and a second round of severe winter weather was forecast from early morning into late evening Tuesday, with freezing rain, sleet and possible snow in northern Oklahoma, meteorologists said.

A third wave is expected Wednesday, with freezing rain likely to transition to average rain during the afternoon in much of the state.

Ice expected to stick around through Wednesday

NWS forecasters said portions of central and northern Oklahoma could see ice and sleet accumulations up to a quarter of an inch, while portions of eastern and southern Oklahoma were expected to see up to half an inch of sleet.

Most of the expected ice is likely to accumulate Tuesday, meteorologists said. Winter storm advisories and warnings were to remain in place until Wednesday, and temperatures are expected to hover at or below freezing throughout the week.

"Power outages and tree damage are likely, due to the ice," the National Weather Service said. "Travel could be nearly impossible. The hazardous conditions could impact the morning or evening commute. If you must travel, keep an extra flashlight, food, and water in your vehicle in case of an emergency."

More:Where to find overnight shelter in OKC for the unhoused during extreme winter weather

How to check road conditions during Oklahoma ice storm

Icy roads force OKC school closures, reduced city services

A truck with a snow plow on the front heads west on 33rd Street as wintery weather hit the Edmond and other parts of the Oklahoma City metro Monday morning, January 30, 2023.
A truck with a snow plow on the front heads west on 33rd Street as wintery weather hit the Edmond and other parts of the Oklahoma City metro Monday morning, January 30, 2023.

Worsening weather conditions led to closures for several schools and offices, while forcing others to cancel activities Monday. Known closures include, but are not limited to:

  • Edmond Public Schools.

  • Metropolitan Library System.

  • Heritage Hall.

  • University of Central Oklahoma.

The University of Oklahoma announced its Norman campus would transition to online and remote work at 12:30 p.m. Monday, continuing operations virtually through Tuesday. OU officials told students and employees to prepare for the possibility of online classes and remote work Wednesday as well.

Oklahoma City Public Schools announced afternoon and evening activities were canceled for the district Monday, although the statement did not specify if classes were also canceled.

Many other schools and school districts were closing early, and parents are encouraged to check with their kids' individual schools for further details.

Across the US50 million under winter weather warnings, advisories; Texas braces for days of ice

OKC trash pickup delayed due to sleet and ice

Oklahoma City residents with a Tuesday trash and recycling pickup should wait and set their carts out for collection no later than 6 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 4.

Trash and recycling service should be normal on Thursday and Friday, according to city officials. The city does not pick up trash on Wednesday.

Nonessential services reduced in many counties

Oklahoma City isn't the only place across the state to see reduced services.

The Oklahoma Commissioner of Public Safety announced a temporary reduction of nonessential services beginning Monday morning and lasting through Monday evening. Impacted counties include:

  • Tulsa

  • Rogers

  • Creek

  • Okmulgee

  • Mayes

  • Delaware

  • Washington

  • Nowata

  • Craig

  • Ottawa

Public utilities monitoring power outages amid Oklahoma ice storm

In preparation for worsening conditions, Oklahoma Gas & Electric Co. staged hundreds of personnel and equipment throughout Ardmore, Ada, Durant, Fort Smith and the Oklahoma City metro. As of noon Monday, an estimated 50 residents in the OG&E service area were without power.

Customers of Public Service Company of Oklahoma, a utility provider throughout much of southeast Oklahoma and Tulsa, can check out the PSO outage map here.

Emergency shelters in Oklahoma City extend hours during ice storm

Oklahoma City has eight overnight shelters that serve the unhoused community throughout the year.

But with the bitter temperatures this week, other winter overflow shelters are extending their services, including The Homeless Alliance, The Salvation Army, City Care and City Rescue Mission.

“During the day today, we are welcoming guests into our day shelter as we would normally on any other weekday,” Homeless Alliance Spokesperson Taylor Self said Monday. “We often serve 200 folks per day, but will not turn anyone away. We also won’t turn anyone away this evening when we set the day shelter up for overnight shelter. Normal hours are 6:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., but we will be open 24 hours through Thursday.”

The Homeless Alliance emergency shelter is located at 1729 NW 3.

City Rescue Mission told The Oklahoman they will take in anyone who needs to get out of the cold.

Skyler Parker, vice president of client services, told The Oklahoman the mission doesn’t want people trying to brave the cold in tents or similar makeshift structures.

“We want them to come in,” Parker said.

The City Rescue Mission night shelter is located at 800 W California Ave.

The Salvation Army night shelter is located at 1001 N Pennsylvania Ave.

City Care night shelter is located at 532 N Villa Ave.

Ice and cold weather causes delays at Will Rogers World Airport

As of 2 p.m. Monday, 19 flight delays affected Will Rogers World Airport. Eight flights were canceled, including three originating from Will Rogers.

Stacey Hamm, spokeswoman for the airport, said maintenance crews work around the clock.

She urged passengers to continue to arrive early, even if their flight is delayed.

Hamm also encouraged passengers to monitor their flights through airline websites and especially phone apps.

“It’s always best, with weather like this, to check with your airline,” Hamm said.

How to keep your pipes from freezing

As temperatures stay below freezing here are some things to do now to keep pipes from bursting and flooding your place, courtesy of the Oklahoma City Utilities Department.

For outdoor pipes:

  • Remove garden hoses and cover outdoor water spigots.

  • Turn off your sprinkler system or set it to manual and make sure it is not scheduled to run while temperatures are below 32 degrees.

For indoor pipes:

  • Open cabinet doors in bathrooms and the kitchen to allow warm air to circulate underneath, keeping pipes warm.

  • If your kitchen or bathroom faucet is along an exterior wall, you might want to turn on the water and allow it to drip at a steady rate, or a stream no wider than a pencil lead. There is no need to run faucets that are not along exterior-facing walls.

  • If your house has a basement or crawl space, wrap any exposed water pipes to insulate them against freezing. This can also help prevent water waste by keeping water in the pipes warmer.

"If you notice your pipes are frozen, use your main shut-off valve to shut off water to your home, and allow the pipes to thaw," the city says.

For emergencies, or to report a broken main along a street, call Utilities Emergency Dispatch at 405-297-3334.

This article originally appeared on Oklahoman: Oklahoma weather brings ice, possible snow and school closures