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WINTER STORM 2021: OHP urges people stay home, check conditions if getting out

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Posted at 12:20 PM, Feb 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-12 15:32:37-05

TULSA, Okla. — The Oklahoma Highway Patrol is urging people in Green Country to STAY HOME during the forecasted winter storm this weekend.

Starting Sunday, OHP is discouraging any travel because of the dangerous conditions that will be caused by the winter storm. OHP is partnering with the Oklahoma National Guard to have Stranded Motorist Assist Response Teams (SMART) ready to assist stranded motorists if needed.

These teams will be placed strategically throughout the interstate system Sunday through Wednesday: I-44, I-40 and I-35. The teams consist of 8 to 10 national guardsmen and troopers with three to four national guard vehicles and one to two troopers. The teams will respond as a convoy to any emergencies. They will have equipment to remove vehicles from roadways but their main goal will be to rescue any stranded motorists and get them to a warm and safe location.

This is a joint effort between the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, Oklahoma National Guard, Oklahoma Department of Transportation and the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management. It could still take several hours for teams to get to a stranded motorist. If you absolutely have to get out, let others know your planned route and expected arrival time.

BEFORE YOU GET OUT:

  • Check brakes, wipers, fluids and tire pressure.
  • Pack warm clothing, blankets, flashlight, ice scraper, sand or cat litter, jumper cables, non-perishable food and drinking water.
  • Charge your phone before you go and take a charging cord with you.
  • Allow extra time for your drive. Slow down and avoid distractions. And as always, make sure to buckle up.

ODOT reminds drivers as precipitation continues to fall during low temperatures that highway conditions can rapidly change and if they must travel, they should drive for conditions.

LOOK: Heat map of crashes on icy roads in Tulsa County

Check road conditions at https://www.okroads.org or on the Drive Oklahoma mobile app.

REMEMBER during snowy and icy conditions, motorists are asked to:

  • Stay about 200 feet behind road clearing equipment; crews need room to maneuver and can engage plowing or spreading materials without notice.
  • Allow extra space between vehicles to provide adequate distance for braking.
  • Be aware of "black ice," which looks wet on the roadway but is a thin layer of ice.
  • Be patient, plan trips ahead and allow extra time in reaching destinations.

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