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Tulsa preparing for more snow during dangerously cold weather

Winter Weather storm Oklahoma
Posted at 10:52 AM, Feb 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-16 14:53:34-05

TULSA, Okla. — The City of Tulsa is under an emergency declaration in response to winter weather.

NEED HELP? Resources for homeless and vulnerable Tulsans to stay warm

Energy Usage Update

Rolling power outages are planned for Tuesday, city officials said the police, fire dispatch, and city utilities would remain unaffected. Unless there is an emergency they urge people NOT to call 911.

Public Service Company of Oklahoma and Oklahoma Natural Gas are asking customers to limit their energy usage to conserve power and prevent outages.

READ MORE: Oklahoma Natural Gas asks customers to conserve energy during winter weather

Some easy ways residents can conserve energy include:

  • Keep warm, not hot – if you’re too warm in your residence, turn your heat down
  • Turn the heat down on your hot water tank – this will help gas usage with little impact on the customer
  • Hold off doing chores that involve using gas appliances until temperatures rebound

Keeping You Safe During Power Outages

Due to the extremely cold temperatures, it’s imperative Tulsans practice safety measures in the event of a power outage.

Proper safety measures include the following:

  • Before your power goes out, make sure your devices are charged and make preparations now.
  • If power does go off, keep the warmth in your home and refrain from opening exterior doors or windows.
  • To keep more heat in, you can place towels under doors and on windowsills.
  • Make sure you have adequate clothing and blankets inside your home to help.

Space Heater Guidelines

City officials provided the following guidelines to use space heaters safely:

  • Keep it at least 3 feet from all combustible items
  • Plug it directly into the wall without using extension cords
  • Only one heater should be plugged into each outlet
  • Only utilize electric space heaters – no gas-fueled heaters should be utilized indoors
  • Never leave a space heater unattended (children and pets can easily knock them over causing fires)

Do not use ovens or stoves as heating devices, especially appliances that utilize gas, because these can cause carbon monoxide poisoning. If using a portable generator after losing power, then leave the generator outside the home. Keep them away from windows or any other places where the fumes could enter your home.

Check Your Pipes

It's essential to protect your pipes and your property during freezing temperatures, especially with the potential for power outages.

To protect your water pipes from extreme cold, you should:

  • Turn your faucets in a position that allows them to slowly drip consistently
  • Open cabinet doors below faucets allowing warm air to contact the pipes - this is especially important for faucets located on walls that are on the outside perimeter of your home
  • If you normally store cleaning supplies in these cabinets, it’s important to relocate them to a safe storage spot that children and pets cannot access

If water is not flowing out of your pipes, you should:

  • Leave faucets open and make sure your cabinets are open
    • Leaving faucets open makes sure you can expedite the thawing process
  • Apply a safe heating source facing the walls with the frozen pipes in them to warm them up
    • Never use a blowtorch or an open flame device to warm your pipes
    • Make sure your heating source is away from any flammable materials
  • Call a plumber if running water does not flow to your pipes in a reasonable amount of time – if the pipe is located on an exterior wall, it’s imperative to act swiftly

Snow & Ice Response

The City of Tulsa's goal is to make expressways and arterial streets safe and passable as soon as possible. The city has these resources to do that:

  • 62 truck-mounted salt spreaders
  • 4 truck-mounted Liquid Applicator Systems for brine application
  • 48 truck-mounted snow plows (Of the 62 trucks with spreaders, and 4 trucks with Liquid Applicator Systems, 48 have plows.)
  • 7 4x4 pick-up trucks equipped with snow plows
  • 3 motor graders for use as plows
  • 210 employees (including drivers and support staff)
  • Approximately 9,500 tons of salt
  • 2 salt brine mixing systems

SEE every map and route the City uses for arterial streets, collector streets, schools and steep hills

EMSA urges people to stay home and stay inside. If you must go out dress appropriately:

  • Dress appropriately. Wear at least three layers of clothing: an outer layer to break the wind and allow some ventilation (like gortex or nylon); a middle layer of wool, down, or synthetic pile to absorb sweat and retain insulating properties when wet; and an inner layer of cotton or synthetic weave to allow ventilation and escape of perspiration.
  • Layer clothing to create air pockets that help retain body heat. Layering also makes adapting to changes in weather and level of physical exertion easier.
  • Keep a change of clothing available in case your work clothes get wet. If your clothes get wet, you should try to change into dry clothes as soon as possible.
  • Pay special attention to protecting your feet, hands, head, and face. Your head should be covered (up to 40% of your body heat can be lost when your head is exposed). Fingers and hands lose their dexterity at temperatures below 59°F. Find gloves that will allow you to perform the tasks you need to perform and remember to put dry gloves on if your gloves get wet.
  • Wear boots or shoes that protect against cold and dampness. Footwear needs be insulated and fit comfortably with several layers of socks.
  • Keep a fully charged cell phone with you at all times.

Tulsa County

Board of County Commissioners is announcing that all County facilities, including the Courthouse, will be closed Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021.

In light of these closures, Tulsa County District Court Presiding Judge William LaFortune has announced individual judges may still conduct scheduled video hearings at their own discretion.

Facilities are expected to reopen for normal operations on Thursday, Feb. 18 at 8:00 a.m. Watch the Tulsa County Facebook page at [] for more updates and information.

Freezing Water Safety

Residents should stay off freezing bodies of water, as the ice isn’t thick enough to safely support someone. Parents should take extra caution to ensure children are not trying to play on things like frozen pools, ponds, lakes and streams. Things like ice fishing and ice skating are not safe in these conditions on bodies of water that have just frozen over.

Refuse & Recycling Changes

To keep City crews safe, there will be no refuse or recycling services today. Additionally, there will be no bulky waste services through Thursday.

It’s asked residents be patient during this time. The City will make every attempt to get caught up once weather conditions improve. The City will begin servicing refuse first when temperatures rise above 10 degrees. If crews are able to pick up on Tuesday, they will operate on a holiday schedule, with Monday customers being picked up on Tuesday, Tuesday customers being picked up on Wednesday, and so on.

Customers who have extra trash that will not fit inside the refuse bin can place a reasonable amount of bagged trash outside and next to their gray trash cart. Only trash, not recycling, should be placed in your gray trash cart or on the curb.

Additionally, the City of Tulsa Mulch Site is also closed until further notice.

Mail Processing

The United States Postal Service suspended mail processing at the Tulsa Processing and Distribution Center on Tuesday morning, but it resumed Tuesday afternoon.

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