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Over 300 000 customers without power in Oklahoma during major ice storm

A major ice storm is continuing to affect Oklahoma, including the metro area. As of 2:15pm Central Time Tuesday, OG&E (Oklahoma Gas and Energy) was reporting over 300,000 outages in their coverage area, with almost 20% of the population in Oklahoma City without power.

The National Weather Service has continued the ice storm warning for a large swath of Oklahoma until Wednesday.

The ice storm comes as a very cold airmass sinks south over the plains of the US and several rounds of moisture move through the region associated with shortwave troughs ahead of a low in the Southwestern US. The second wave is moving through today with more freezing rain expected, followed by the low-pressure system itself moving in from the southwestern US, which is likely to bring rain to the region tomorrow when the temperatures warm. The same system has also been bringing heavy snow to the Oklahoma panhandle, where 17cm of snow has been reported in Turpin.

The result of the ice so far has been wide ranging power outages as freezing rain accretes on trees that still are foliated. Will Rogers Airport has reported over 35mm of freezing precipitation since Monday, with some pictures showing ice accretion of well over half an inch in El Reno.

This combined with winds gusting as high as 50km/h is resulting in many tree branches and large trees snapping, damaging the power system.

The second wave could bring another quarter to half inch of ice to the already hard hit areas before the mercury finally rises above the freezing mark as well as another 10cm of snow to parts of the Oklahoma and Texas panhandles.

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