The City of Tulsa is monitoring and preparing for winter weather expected later this week. Final preparations are underway to respond to the winter weather event as equipment and crews are readied.
City of Tulsa street crews will start 24-hour response starting around 2 a.m. Wednesday. Crews will work in 12-hour shifts throughout the event.
Brine (salt/water mix) will not be used initially to treat roads as rain on Tuesday could wash the solution away. Salt will be the main ingredient used to treat roads as sleet/freezing rain comes in on Wednesday. When the precipitation changes over to snow, City crews will use plows to clear the roadways. As the roadways get cleared, brine may be used on some bridges, hills and overpasses.
It’s asked drivers give plenty of room between their vehicles and snow plows and salt spreaders on the road.
More information on the City’s snow and ice response can be found below.
Operational Updates and Closures
Warming Stations and Safe Housing
Three warming stations are open in Tulsa for individuals and families seeking shelter from the cold.
Housing Solutions has outreach teams continuing to move those experiencing homelessness into shelters while weather and road conditions permit. Local shelters will offer shelter-in-place services, meaning those who visit their shelter will be able to stay there throughout the duration of this winter weather event.
If you see someone in need of safe and warm housing, you can fill out a Housing Solutions Homeless Street Outreach Request online at https://www.housingsolutionstulsa.org/assistance-request/.
EMSA encourages all Tulsans to stay off local roadways during the upcoming winter weather event unless travel is necessary. If you are involved in a motor vehicle accident on icy/snowy roads, please make every attempt to move your vehicle to the road’s shoulder so emergency vehicles aren’t impeded by abandoned vehicles on local roadways. Additionally, please make sure to wear shoes with grip and traction if walking outdoors, as icy surfaces could be covered by snow causing slips and falls – EMSA’s most frequent call in 2021’s winter weather event.
PSO asks residents to assume that any downed utility line is energized with deadly electric current. Stay away from the line and do not touch it with anything. Report it to PSO at 1-888-218-3919.
In the event of a power outage, please do not approach crews and utility vehicles you see in your neighborhood to ask when power will be restored. Doing so could jeopardize your safety. Outward vision from the large utility vehicles can be limited. A crew may not see someone who has walked up to their work truck.
Please note, all restoration estimates are for customers whose property is in condition to receive power. If the electric service entrance (meter loop) to your home or business has been damaged or pulled away from the structure, you will need to have it repaired by a licensed electrician before PSO can re-connect service.
To report and track outages, visit www.psoklahoma.com/outages/report/.
Winter Weather Preparedness
It is important to prepare now and plan for several days of snow and extreme cold. If you have to get out, please make sure your vehicle is prepared with a winter car kit and your gas tank is full. The Tulsa Fire Department (TFD) recommends against travel in winter weather conditions, as the temperatures are potentially lethal if you aren’t properly prepared. If you have to get out, make sure you bring extra clothing and bring a cell phone that is fully charged. For more winter weather preparation tips, visit: www.ready.gov/winter-weather
Residents who do not have to go outside should stay indoors. With forecasts showing temperatures single digits, it only takes 15-30 minutes for exposed skin to develop frostbite. It’s vitally important to wear multiple layers when outside and cover any exposed skin with things like gloves, hats, face masks, goggles, etc. If you will be traveling, even for a short distance, bring extra clothing and blankets with you. In the chance your car breaks down or gets stuck and you have to walk, being unprepared could be deadly.
Check On the Elderly
Don’t wait for your elderly family members or neighbors to ask for help. Be proactive and ask what you can do to help. Call or check in on them to make sure they have adequate and safe heating sources in their home. If absolutely necessary, ask what errands, if any, you could help them with.
Snow and ice-covered driveways often present a slipping hazard, so helping your neighbors get their mail is advised, as well as helping them shovel snow off of their driveways.
Check Your Smoke Detectors
TFD asks residents to check smoke detectors to ensure they are operating properly. It’s also recommended residents purchase and install a Carbon Monoxide detector if they do not currently have one, as many heaters run off of natural gas.
Space Heater & Heating Safety
Though space heaters can be useful, they can be very dangerous if not utilized in a safe manner.
Space heater usage guidelines:
Please do not use ovens or stoves as heating devices, especially appliances that utilize gas. These can create a carbon monoxide danger in your home.
If you lose power and plan to utilize a portable generator, the generator should always be operated on the exterior of your home. It is important to keep them away from windows or any other places that would facilitate the fumes entering your home.
Water Pipe Preparedness
To protect your water pipes from extreme cold, you should:
City’s Snow/Ice Response
The City of Tulsa is responsible for clearing snow and ice from the Gilcrease Expressway, L.L. Tisdale Expressway and all arterial (main) streets. Other highway segments in Tulsa are the responsibility of the Oklahoma Department of Transportation.
After a snow or ice storm begins, the goal is to make expressways and arterial streets safe and passable as soon as possible.
These resources are available to attain this goal:
Crews are assigned to 35 specific routes totaling approximately 1,770 lane-miles, which is approximately the same distance as driving from Tulsa to San Francisco. Spreading and plowing routes are prioritized based on traffic counts. Once the main streets are cleared and conditions permit, selected residential streets may be treated based upon traffic and steepness.
During winter weather response, the first focus is to clear city arterial streets for emergency responders. After arterial streets are clear, the second focus then moves to residential or collector streets near hospitals, schools and areas with steep hills. The following link includes every map and route the City uses for arterial streets, collector streets, schools and steep hills: www.cityoftulsa.org/winterpreparedness