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Tulsa Winter Weather Update Feb. 14 – 10:15 a.m.

This article was archived on 2/28/2021

The city of Tulsa is under an emergency declaration in response to winter weather - the Tulsa Area Emergency Management Agency (TAEMA) Emergency Operations Plan will be followed.

TAEMA’s Emergency Operations Center is now fully activated for the winter storm.

Snow Operations Update

City crews spent the morning applying salt and brine to the roads, as the first swath of snow was lighter than expected. As the second band of heavier snow moves through, crews will switch to plowing.

Earlier this morning, a vehicle hit one of the City’s plows. The plow was damaged and required the installation of a spare plow on the truck.

It’s important for anyone who will be out in these conditions to:

City Continuing 24-Hour Response

City crews have been on 24-hour winter weather response for nearly a week. In gratitude for their service, the young friend of one City employee raised some money and was able to provide City crews pizza and drinks in appreciation of their efforts (picture attached to this email).

To that end, crews will remain on 24-hour winter weather response until the threat of winter weather subsides, which is expected to be later this week. If you see a City crew out, please show them your gratitude by giving them words of kindness and plenty of room to continue to do their work. 

Check Your Pipes

Since the onset of the cold weather, City crews have responded to more than 50 residential frozen water pipe calls. The extreme cold can freeze your water pipes, so it’s important to stay aware and take steps to protect your pipes and your property.

To protect your water pipes from extreme cold, you should:

Additional tips on protecting your water pipes can be found online.

Reporting Waterline Breaks

As extreme cold weather continues, the City is seeing an uptick in waterline breaks. To report a waterline break in your area, call (918) 596-9488. Please be patient when calling – a dispatcher will answer these calls as they are received.

Freezing Water Safety  

Residents should STAY OFF freezing bodies of water, as the ice isn’t thick enough to safely support someone. Parents should take extra caution to ensure children are not trying to play on things like frozen pools, ponds, lakes and streams. Things like ice fishing and ice skating are not safe in these conditions on bodies of water that have just frozen over.

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. TFD recommends against travel in these 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:

Frostbite Prevention

Residents who do not have to go outside should stay indoors. With temperatures dipping below zero and windchills well below zero, 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.

Generator Safety

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.

Homelessness Response

TAEMA remains in constant contact with area homeless shelters. All shelters report they have beds currently available. There are multiple outreach teams working to communicate the threat of upcoming weather to the encampments in Tulsa, and are attempting to convince as many of the unhoused population to seek shelter leading into the weekend as possible. TAEMA is working to provide material assistance to shelter operations to ensure they have the ability to continue to serve the community.

Housing Solutions, the City of Tulsa and community partners are working to get those experiencing homelessness inside during this cold snap.

The City is urging those who are outside to come inside without fear of losing their things – this has been a main concern among many who continue to choose to stay outside. The City and its community partners are not cleaning up homeless encampments or taking people’s possessions if they are left outside at this time.

Teams across the City are continuing to frequent known encampments and encourage people to come inside. If you see someone who you think needs assistance in the cold, please fill out this form so outreach personnel can make contact.

Yesterday afternoon, the City was able to access an encampment in south Tulsa utilizing a drone to help reach individuals. Due to these efforts, a dozen additional people were able to secure a safe and warm shelter. Outreach teams have now responded to every known encampment within the city and have been able to provide shelter to every single person seeking warm shelter. Yesterday evening, outreach teams were able to secure shelter for every person at an encampment located on West Brady St. under the I-244 bridge as well.

Some residents have tried to purchase fire pits and firewood and have been unloading these items at encampments, discouraging those experiencing homelessness to seek shelter. These efforts are also causing fire dangers. We are asking residents to allow the outreach teams to do their job so everyone can stay safe and seek shelter during this extreme weather as hypothermia and frostbite can occur in as little as 30 minutes.

There are multiple shelters available to those experiencing homelessness. Housing Solutions is working to get anyone who needs shelter into a local shelter at this time.

Right now, Tulsa shelters in operation include:

  1. The City’s Overflow Shelter at the former Juvenile Justice Detention Center
  2. Tulsa Day Center for the Homeless, 415 W. Archer St.
  3. John 3:16 Mission, 506 N. Cheyenne Ave.
  4. Salvation Army, 102 N. Denver Ave.

Tulsa Parks Updates

Tulsa Parks community centers will be closed Monday due to winter weather. Additionally, Oxley Nature Center will also be closed on Monday. Student Support Camps, which serve students who are practicing distance learning at various community centers, will not be in operation on Monday due  to the holiday.

Inspections Availability

Due to inclement weather, Inspection Services is only performing critical utilities inspections, such as repairs made due to removed  gas, electric and water meters. To schedule an inspection for critical utility repairs, contact Phil Bradley at (918) 798-8031, Steve Malugani at (918) 519-8746, or Bob Kolibas at (918) 261-9129.

Please note that after hours inspections will be charged as overtime inspections billed at $260.

City of Tulsa 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 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.

The following link includes the route map the City uses in its winter weather response:

Additionally, a list of frequently asked questions on the City’s snow and ice response can be found online.

Want to receive updates on emergency weather information and create a disaster plan for your family? Download the free Tulsa Ready App, compatible with Android and iOS systems. Follow the City of Tulsa on Twitter for updates during winter weather season, @cityoftulsagov.