Winter storm could bring snow, ice to Oklahoma, Missouri and Arkansas

By Nicholas Sakelaris

Dec. 7 (UPI) -- After wreaking havoc in Southern California, a winter storm is forecast to bring snow, ice and more bitter cold temperatures to Oklahoma, Arkansas and Missouri this weekend.

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin already declared a state of emergency for all 77 counties in the state to prepare for the onslaught of snow, sleet and freezing rain. The Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management will work with local officials statewide on response and recovery plans for the storm, which the Weather Channel has named Winter Storm Diego.


Freezing drizzle will start falling in western and central Oklahoma Friday night and snow is expected on Saturday. A winter storm watch is in effect for most of the state from 6 a.m. Friday to midnight Saturday.

"Because the weather event may include dangerous road conditions and power outages, this state of emergency is being issued in advance of the storm to allow emergency management and other partners to preposition resources," Fallin said.

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In Arkansas, athletic events and Christmas parades are being preemptively canceled before the storm arrives.

In North Carolina, Gov. Roy Cooper warned residents to be ready for the first winter storm of the season.


"The forecast is still evolving, but we know that parts of the state are facing the potential for several inches of snow, and other forms of precipitation will also be a threat," Cooper said. "Everyone needs to be ready for cold temperatures, hazardous driving conditions and the possibility of power outages."

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South Carolina also rescheduled high school football playoff games.

In California, snowfall shut down Interstate 5 between Los Angeles and the San Joaquin Valley Wednesday morning. It reopened Wednesday afternoon.

Farther south in San Diego, flooding was the biggest issue. The Alpha Project, a homeless shelter in Barrio Logan, had to be evacuated because of flooding. Hundreds of homeless people were transported to San Diego County Credit Union Stadium in Mission Valley for the night.

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A hazmat crew had to respond after the portable toilets at the shelter were underwater, contaminating the surrounding area.

The American Red Cross opened a shelter at Paradise Valley Seventh Day Adventist Church for other residents displaced by flooding in National City and San Diego.

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