McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

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December 4, 2013

County braces for rough weather

McALESTER — Local officials say they say they are preparing for the predicted rough weather ahead.

A 90 percent chance of sleet and snow is predicted for the McAlester area starting Thursday, according to the weather.gov.

Pittsburg County Sheriff Joel Kerns said his men were preparing the county’s two High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles.

Kerns said the donated vehicles will be used to reach areas that may become inaccessible due to snow and ice.

“We’ve had to use them on numerous occasions,” Kerns said.

“They can get to places other vehicles can’t.”

He said recently during an incident in Timberlake, sheriff’s deputies used the vehicles to transport emergency personnel and a gurney out to rescue a woman who lived in an area that would have been otherwise inaccessible.

District 1 County Commissioner Gene Rogers said his barns are well stocked with salt and the salt spreader is ready to go if needed.

“We’ve been gearing up all week,” Rogers said.

“We want to be ready so we can be as helpful as we can be.”

District 2 County Commissioner Kevin Smith said he’s ready also.

We have lots of salt sand and chips on hand if it happens, Smith said.” And my guys will all be on stand-by.”

McAlester City Manager Pete Stasiak said the city has done a lot of work to prepare for bad weather.

“We have all the salt stocked for the season and our main truck has an large spreader ready to roll,” Stasiak said.

All the police vehicles have studded snow tires and the department has recently added five all-wheel vehicles to their fleet, he said.

“The fire department and ambulance have tire-chains  ready to use in a moments notice,” Stasiak said.

For those with outages that need a place to go, Stasiak said the JI Stipe Center at 801 N 9th St., is on standby and is ready to accommodate without heat.

“The center will be open for a warm place to stay and we will work with the Red Cross if the need for over-night accommodations are necessary.”

He said the city has also prepared the water plant for the possible inclement weather.

“We’ve purchased massive generator for the water plant,” Stasiak said.

“I wasn’t here then but I was told that loss of water during the an ice storm biggest complaint.”

A great deal of work has been done in preparation for this type of weather,” Stasiak said.

“If it happens, we are ready.”

Contact Jeanne LeFlore at jleflore@mcalesternews.com.

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