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 email@example.com.
Winter Weather Preparedness
source Pittsburg County Emergency Management
Have a Plan - Make a Kit - Stay Informed
Have A Plan:
• Discuss with your family what to do if a winter storm watch or warning is issued.
• Ensure your family knows meeting places and phone numbers of other family members in case they are
separated when a winter storm hits.
• Know what to do if basic services such as water, gas, electricity or telephones are cut off for an extended
period of time.
• Understand the hazards of wind chill. Cold temperatures are even more dangerous, and potentially
deadly, when combined with strong winds. The lower the temperature and stronger the wind, the more
at risk you are.
• Check on family, friends and neighbors, especially the elderly. Make sure they are prepared.
• Plan to bring pets inside during winter weather. Move livestock to sheltered areas with
non-frozen drinking water.
• Install and check smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.
• Let faucets drip to avoid freezing and know how to shut off water valves if necessary.
• Have an alternate heating method such as fireplace or wood or coal burning stove. Always be cautious
using a portable space heater.
• Have your car winterized before winter storm season. Keep your gas tank full for emergency use and to
keep the fuel line from freezing.
• Make sure your home is properly insulated. If necessary insulate walls and attic. Caulk and weather-strip
doors and windowsills.
• Install storm windows or cover windows with plastic from the inside.
• To keep pipes from freezing, wrap them in insulation or layers of old newspapers. Cover the newspapers
with plastic to keep out moisture.
• Never heat a home with an oven if the electricity goes out
Make A Kit:
• Windshield scraper, de-icer, snow shovel and small broom for ice and snow removal.
• A cell phone with charger and a battery powered radio.
• Several blankets or sleeping bags.
• Mittens, they are warmer than gloves because fingers generate warmth when they touch each other.
• Rain gear, warm coats and extra sets of dry clothing, mittens, socks and a cap.
• Non-perishable snacks like dried fruit, nuts and other high energy “munchies.”
• Several bottles of water. Eating snow will lower your body temperature. If necessary, melt it first.
• Sand or cat litter for generating traction under wheels and a set of tire chains or traction mats.
• Jumper cables, flashlight with extra batteries, first aid kit and brightly colored cloth to tie to antenna if
you get stranded.
• Know what National Weather Service winter storm and blizzard watches and warnings mean.
• A winter storm watch is a message indicating a winter storm is possible in your area.
• A winter storm warning indicates a winter storm is occurring winter storm is occurring or will soon occur
in your area and could threaten life and property.
• A winter weather advisory means winter weather conditions are expected to cause significant
inconveniences and may be hazardous, especially to motorists.
• A frost/freeze warning means below freezing temperatures are expected.
• Ice storms usually bring heavy accumulations of ice that can bring down trees, electrical wires,
telephone poles and lines, and communication towers. Communications and power can be disrupted for
days while the utility company works to repair the extensive damage.
• A blizzard warning means sustained winds or frequent gusts to 35 mph or greater and considerable
falling or blowing snow is expected to prevail for a period of three hours or longer.
• Depend on your NOAA All Hazards Weather Radio, along with local radio and television stations, for
Be Cautious with Alternative Heat Sources:
Never use generators, grills, camp stoves or other gasoline or charcoal-burning devices inside your home or
garage. They produce carbon monoxide which is an odorless, colorless and tasteless gas that kills more than
500 people every year. Use extra caution when using space heaters.
• Use fireplaces, wood stoves, or other combustion heaters only if they are properly vented.
• Do not place a space heater within 3 feet of anything that may catch on fire, such as drapes, furniture,
or bedding, and never cover your space heater.
• Never place a space heater on top of furniture or near water.
• Never leave children unattended near a space heater.
• Do keep a multipurpose fire extinguisher on hand in case of emergency.
• Protect yourself from carbon monoxide poisoning by installing a battery-operated carbon monoxide
detector and never using generators, grills, camp stoves or similar devices indoors.