Stillwater News Press

December 24, 2013

Weather improves just in time for holiday traveling

By Megan Sando
Stillwater NewsPress

STILLWATER, Okla. — Icicles dangled from cars, and ice-covered grass crunched under foot as Stillwater and area residents made their final push toward Christmas and holiday travel  Monday.

Temperatures remained in the 20s and 30s around Oklahoma Monday. City of Cushing crews will help residents by picking up tree limbs that fell because of the ice storm.

Cushing residents should place limbs at the curb no later than 7 a.m. Jan. 6. Crews will pick up tree limbs only. Cushing residents also can take limbs and other refuse to the Refuse Transfer Station free through Jan. 4. The station will be closed Christmas Day, New Year’s Day and on Sundays.

A gradual warming trend across Oklahoma should make holiday traveling a breeze. The Christmas Eve and Christmas Day forecasts call for sunny skies with a high in the mid-40s and lows in the mid 20s. Highs should climb into the 60s by Saturday.

Stillwater Police Capt. Randy Dickerson still advises travelers to check weather forecasts before hitting the road, and plan for the potential for ice and snow.

AAA Oklahoma predicts a record 862,000 Oklahomans will be traveling 50 or more miles from home this holiday season. AAA defines the year-end holiday season as Dec. 21 through Jan. 1.

AAA Oklahoma spokesman Chuck Mai credited the solid economy as the reason for those record numbers, especially low gas prices.

AAA predicts 94 percent of Oklahoma travelers will use a car or pickup to reach their destination. In Oklahoma, 47,300 travelers will be flying to their destinations this year.

Oklahoma Highway Patrol troopers have a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to drinking and driving. Troopers will be out in full force across the state to crack down on drunken driving, aggressive speed, child restraints and seat belt enforcement.

Wrecks involving alcohol increase 40 percent during the holidays.

As of Dec. 13, 621 traffic fatalities had been recorded in Oklahoma. In 2012, 708 traffic deaths were recorded on Oklahoma roads.

“We are passionate and committed to the safety of Oklahomans and those traveling our roadways,” Chief of Patrol Col. Ricky Adams said. “We want the public to be safe when operating a motor vehicle as we continue to cut down on the number of fatality accidents we have each year.”