OKC staying salty to prevent icy roads

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OKLAHOMA CITY - The Oklahoma City Street Maintenance Department has a big salt barn for a reason.

"Right here, you're looking at about eight thousand tons," Unit Operations Supervisor Tim Ishmael said Wednesday afternoon.

Ishmael is pointing at a massive mountain of rock salt that crews are using to melt snow and ice off the city's streets.

Using temperature sensors at three metro bridges, they'll know when all bridges are about to freeze up Wednesday night.

Spreading the salt Wednesday morning played a key role in keeping auto accidents to a minimum.

Wednesday afternoon, EMSA reported only 12 crash responses, with only ten people being transported in good condition.

"Well it means we did our job," Ishmael said.  "You know, we tried to get out ahead of this stuff, tried to listen to the forecast and be prepared.  I'd rather deal with it on the front side, rather than the back side."

In Tecumseh, Rick and Shellie Hall found a way to stay off the roads.  They used a four wheeler to get around.

"It took me an hour and a half to get from here to Shawnee and back to the grocery store," Rick said.

"I started building a snowman," Shellie said.  "It's fun.  We're like big kids."

Several Pottawatomie County residents, however, didn't have quite as much fun Wednesday morning.

Authorities towed about 25 cars and trucks that spun off slick roads, near and along Highway 9.

Some were stuck in mud.

Another was propped up across a drainage ditch.

Undersheriff J.T. Palmer compared the morning snowfall to Oklahoma's most famous blizzard.

"It was the Christmas Eve snow three years ago... when I was coming in this morning," he said.  "It was coming down that hard."

Fortunately, there were no serious injuries reported.

Palmer would like to keep it that way Thursday morning.

"Slow down.  Keep a steady speed," he said.  "The more gas you give it, the more you're going to spin."

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