Oklahoma Department of Transportation crews in Duncan were gearing up early today for incoming equipment and neighboring crews, as they prepared to head to northwest Oklahoma to assist in the blizzard.
Division Maintenance Engineer Brad Mirth said the 18-man crew would begin travel north later today to Clinton, moving two motor graders, two front end loaders, six dump trucks with plows and sanders.
ODOT Construction Engineer Jeff Hiller said they could move toward Woodward depending on how the blizzard hits that area.
Hiller expected those areas to be most impacted. They were coordinating efforts with nine other counties in their district.
Stephens County Commissioners said they also have crews on standby should the weather take a turn for the worse locally. As of 2:30 p.m. the rain began changing to wet snow in Duncan, but was still more rain than snow.
District 3 County Commissioner Dee Bowen said road crews and the commissioners were ready and prepared but waiting to see what the weather was doing later to make any decisions.
“It is a normal day for us right now,” Bowen said earlier in the morning. “We are just waiting to see what the weather does. We have sand spreaders loaded and ready if we need them.”
Drivers should keep a watch on any area with ice or snow.
Although the City of Duncan does not have any snow plows available, Public Works Director Scott Vaughn said they are as ready as they can be. Should the weather get bad, the city will be using their two sand trucks to help with road conditions.
“In the event that snow needs to be cleared, we will use road graders, back hoes and front end loaders,” Vaughn said.
He warned that drivers should be especially careful on steep intersections such as the where U.S. Highway 81 road intersects with Elder Avenue and Pine and on bridges. If road crews are needed, their first priority will be clearing access to emergency personnel — police department, the fire stations and hospitals. Major intersections and bridges would be the next concern.
“If the weather hits, people need to slow down and allow more time to get from point ‘a’ to point ‘b,’” Vaughn said. “Be mindful and watchful of the conditions.”
Bowen said there are no specific locations in the county that people should watch out for but said the intersections would be the worst. Should the weather get worse, the county road crews will be focusing on spreading sand primarily only on intersections.
“We just do not have the manpower to do the whole road,” Bowen said.
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Two fronts passed through Jefferson County between 3 and 5 p.m. Monday, the second producing a rain-wrapped tornado spotted by storm watchers north of Ryan and moving east. The same front passed over Ringling, with circulation but no funnel formation reported.
Most damage in Jefferson County was limited to rural areas, where straight line wind damage was noted. Pea- to marble-sized hail fell twice in Waurika and the surrounding area, with minimal damage.
Power outages keep burger flippers busy
Deborah Hudson slowed from the frantic pace just long enough to admit it was probably the busiest day ever at McDonald’s Restaurant in the Duncan Walmart on U.S. 81 here.
“It started around 3:30 p.m.” she said, watching a line 20 people deep patiently wait for a chance to order, “and it hasn’t let up since. We had to bring extra workers in from the other store and we’ve stayed just like this.”
Duncan dodges destruction after small tornado knocks out power
A tornado touched down in Stephens County Monday about 3 p.m., east of Duncan, and Central High Mayor Julie McKinney snapped a photo of it with her cellphone. Watching it cross State Highway 29, three miles east of Marlow, with her, was Sheriff Wayne McKinney, Marlow Fire Chief Ryan Hall and county Emergency Management Director Gary Ball.
Storms over Stephens County Monday
A quick overview of Stephens County action on Monday when the storm moved into this area:
From the field with news editor Toni Hopper
Tornado did touch down on Oklahoma Highway 29.
School buses delayed
Duncan Public Schools has delayed the running of school buses until the second cell of the storm passes.
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Funerals today Monday, May 20
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