2.3 The Southern Plains Ice Storm of January 28-29, 2010

Tuesday, 25 January 2011: 11:30 AM
6B (Washington State Convention Center)
Kevin A. Kloesel, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK

On January 28-29, 2010, a winter storm brought significant accumulations of both ice and snow to parts of western and central Oklahoma and western North Texas. While the storm produced a variety of wintry precipitation, its most significant impact was an extended period of freezing rain across southern Oklahoma. Significant icing on trees and power lines resulted in catastrophic damage to infrastructure, and caused numerous injuries and fatalities.

This presentation will provide an overview of the weather conditions and synoptic environment responsible for this event, including the weather forecasts made regarding the ice storm in the days leading up to the event. Although numerous outlets were reporting the impending winter weather, the day before the ice storm was unusually warm for January in Oklahoma and western North Texas. The warm conditions made it difficult for citizens in the region to internalize the warnings and take necessary precautions.

This presentation will also outline the emergency response during and after the storm, as well as the difficulties encountered in restoring critical services in the rural areas of southwest Oklahoma. Included in this section of the presentation will be an evaluation of the use of social media (i.e. facebook, twitter, googlemaps, blogs, etc.) to provide updates regarding the deteriorating conditions across Oklahoma.

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