Winter Storms Pose Perils

The 2007 ice storm in Tulsa County was one of the worst in the area's history.

Tulsa World

The 2007 ice storm in Tulsa County was one of the worst in the area's history.

Halli Resinger, Reporter

Natural disasters can happen anywhere in the world and can destroy lives and property. Ice storms, one type of natural disaster, often bring destruction during Oklahoma winters.  

Meteorologist Mike Lacy with the Tulsa office of the National Weather Service recalls the area’s most recent significant winter storm, which left a half-inch of ice across Northeastern Oklahoma in 2013.  

“The ice storm in 2013 was bad, but it wasn’t as damaging as the ice storm in 2007,” he says.

Lacy likens ice storms to winter tornadoes.  

“Ice can do severe damage to a lot of things,” he says.

The 2007 ice storm in Tulsa County caused an estimated $870 million worth of damage on private homes. Heavy ice covered trees and power lines.

The storm’s aftermath also changed how the Red Cross reacts to ice storms. The nonprofit opened 35 shelters for people who didn’t have power or supplies they needed to get through the effects of the storm, so it’s better prepared now.  

Technology that meteorologists use to track ice storms is called model data.

“The meteorologists pick and choose what they need to use out of the model data,” Lacy says. “It’s a hard process, though, because weather is hard to track.”

To prepare for ice storms, people should anticipate long periods without power. For instance, in the 2007 ice storm, thousands were without power for a week and some for up to a month.  

Traveling during and after ice storms also requires caution.

“You should always be careful going over bridges and make sure to watch for trees and power lines falling,” Lacy says.