Patches of ice and snow clung to the streets of McAlester this morning as temperatures dropped to record lows.

“It got down to 11 degrees in McAlester this morning,” Climatologist Andrew Reader with the Oklahoma Climatological Survey said. “The record low before today was 17 degrees back in 1968.”

Reader said the recent winter weather was caused by a large, artic blast of cold air.

“There was a really deep pull of cold air in Alaska and Canada that finally made its way south,” Reader said. “It’s that time of year.”

Low temperatures in McAlester have been around 20 degrees for the past three days, but are expected to rise by this weekend.

“It’s been a fairly long cold snap for Oklahoma, but by Saturday it should definetely warm up to the 50s,” Reader said.

McAlester streets could begin clearing this afternoon, Reader said, and will almost certainly be clear for the weekend.

Reader said the rapid rise to 50 degree temperatures isn’t that uncommon.

“In Oklahoma it seems to be the norm,” Reader said. “This time of year it isn’t unusual to see a rapid change of temperature.”

Meanwhile, the sudden influx of cold weather has yet to seriously impact the city’s utility maintenance department.

“We had one water break come in late last night,” Utility Maintenance Forman Tim Murray said. “But I’m not sure it was related to the cold weather.”

Water Office Supervisor Pat Freeman said she hadn’t received any calls at 9 a.m. today.

“We haven’t had any calls for frozen pipes all day long,” Freeman said. “So maybe people remembered to leave their faucets dripping or to leave the heat on or something.”

But Freeman said it isn’t over yet. “We may get some calls later this afternoon when the sun comes out,”

Freeman said. “It’s happened before. But so far, it’s been all clear.”

Contact Trevor Dunbar at

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