Statewide storm sabotages student snow plans

Photo by: Will Gentry

 

The hopes of the Oklahoma Christian University students were dashed two weeks ago when school was not cancelled and Edmond remained relatively snow-free.

“I was hoping for some [snow],” junior Steven Langley said. “So it was a little disappointing when we didn’t get a snow day.”

Although Edmond merely received flurries and freezing rain, meteorologists predicted correctly regarding other areas in Oklahoma and surrounding states. Some areas in Oklahoma received around 17 inches of snow.

Weathermen predicted large amounts of snowfall over the metro area in the days before the blizzard. However, when the day arrived, it became obvious that the snow would pass over Edmond and the surrounding areas.

“The Oklahoma weathermen always over-exaggerate big storms, so I wasn’t expecting much,” freshman Devin Dobson, an Edmond local, said.

Many public school districts across the state closed schools in advance in expectation of the dangerous snow conditions.

“I was surprised Enid shut down school just to prepare the town for the snow,” Dobson said.

Other schools and activities were cancelled and buildings closed the next morning when the snow arrived. Oklahoma Christian cancelled activities on Monday evening, expecting conditions to worsen, but the weather remained unchanged and the university stayed open the next day.

“I think it was a little disappointing because I wouldn’t mind missing school for a couple days,” senior Dwayne Wiseman said. “I wouldn’t mind playing in the snow.”

Wiseman’s hometown, Elk City, Okla., received around 12 inches of snow. The schools in and around Elk City shut down while conditions cleared.

“No traveling for at least two days; they were pretty much stuck,” Wiseman said. “Gas stations were packed from travelers. My family, they were stuck at home, couldn’t go anywhere.”

Power outages were a major issue that came along with the snowstorm. According to Wiseman, many citizens of Elk City lost power. This includes his family living in the city.

“They had no electricity for about 24 hours,” Wiseman said. “I was definitely concerned for them and all the people in Elk City. I know my cousin didn’t have power for two days.”

Winter storm warnings and meteorologists’ predictions helped citizens prepare in advance for the blizzard to come.

“They prepared normally,” Wiseman said. “Flashlights, candles, just made sure things worked properly. They had candles and the gas stove, so at least it was warm in one part of the house.”

Snow hit harder in some states surrounding Oklahoma. In Wichita, Kan., the snow fell 24 inches deep and in Amarillo, Texas, it fell to 19 inches in some areas.

“[My sister-in-law] lives in Amarillo, Texas,” Langley said. “There was so much snow she couldn’t get out of the house. She couldn’t even let her dog out.”

Langley, from Wichita, said his family had several days off from work during the snowstorm.

A concern in these types of snowstorms is death – typically due to freezing conditions either from becoming stranded in one’s car or losing power and having no way to stay warm.

One casualty occurred during the blizzard. 71-year-old Curtis B. Haines, who lived alone in Woodward, Okla., died when his roof collapsed from the 12-13 inches of heavy snow.

“I am sad we didn’t get as much snow as Amarillo, but if we ever do I just hope no one gets hurt,” Langley said.

In the event of inclement weather, see Oklahoma Christian’s handbook and watch online for more information regarding the university’s policy and plans.

Local and national new stations will help keep the public updated and safe during winter storms.

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