Oklahoma hit by extreme winter weather

Staff Writer

Governor Kevin Stitt declared a State of Emergency for all 77 Oklahoma counties as state officials continued their emergency response preparations for the dangerous winter storm that started to impacted the state over the weekend.
Oklahoma had already been coping with days of dangerously cold temperatures, freezing drizzle, and difficult travel. However, the winter storm that began moving through the state Saturday night brought with it over 6 inches of snow to SE OK and upwards of a foot of snow in parts of the state. Temperatures plummeted quickly and by Monday night SE OK was in the single digits, dropping below zero overnight with wind chills as low as -15 degrees.
As always the people in our area have shown us why this is the best place to call home. With subzero temperatures, scheduled and unplanned power outages, and unexpected waterline freezing, a group of our local residents and business owners came together to help whomever needed it. Serenity Funeral Services, Terry and Jackie Burch, along with Sharon Shoalmire, The Lunch Lady, provided a warm place for people to gather and have a hot meal. Along with tons of food donated by The Lunch Lady, there were cookies, hot chocolate, coffee, popcorn and phone charging stations provided at no cost. Blankets were also available for anyone who might have needed them. The Lunch Lady also provided breakfast to the Town of Rattan. There were also volunteers on hand checking on families, neighbors and friends, and delivering blankets, groceries, or just warm meals.
Local businesses, like Rowland Law Firm and Jim Ray's Quick Stop, are also teaming up to provide free meals for emergency workers and lineman who are out in the elements trying to make sure everyone can stays safe and warm.
One way the state prepared for the storm is activating the Stranded Motorist Assist Response Teams (SMART) to assist stranded motorists if needed. These teams of Oklahoma Highway Patrol and Oklahoma National Guard personnel were placed strategically throughout the interstate system Sunday through Wednesday. This program is a joint effort between OHP, the Oklahoma National Guard, the Oklahoma Department of Transportation, the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority and the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security.
ODOT crews in all 77 counties prepared for this storm by restocking salt and sand supplies, readying equipment and putting third-party contractors on standby to supplement crews and equipment as needed.