Monday, 14 February 2011 19:46

Snow Hits Oklahoma, North Texas Closing Shops and Wreaking Havoc on Motorists Featured

Freezing temperatures, snow and sleet pummeled parts of Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana as it made its way northeast earlier this month. The storm hit hardest from January 31 through February 3 and again on February 9 and 10, although the threat of snow loomed through the area for most of the month.

In New Orleans, a mix of rain and sleet fell on the city's northern districts and outlying neighborhoods. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal declared a state of emergency January 27 in anticipation of the weather, activating the state's Crisis Action Team to monitor possible hazardous conditions that could affect parts of the state. State government offices in 55 Louisiana parishes were closed on January 28 because of the wintry weather, according to reports made by CNN.

The snow hit hardest in Oklahoma, as residents continued to slowly dig out of 20 inches of snow, sleet and ice that shut down major interstates and forced the closure of airports, businesses and schools.

President Barack Obama granted an emergency declaration request from OK Governor Mary Fallin late February 2, paving the way for federal assistance to counties needing help to deal with the storm’s aftermath. OK Insurance Commissioner John Doak also issued a statewide emergency order due to "severe snow, ice and wind storms on February 1 and 2," according to a statement made February 4.

The storm was part of a system more than 2,000 miles long that barreled through the nation’s midsection on its way to the Northeast, leaving vast swaths from the plains to New England coated in snow and ice, according to reports made by Insurance Journal.

One of Autobody News' columnists, Scott 'Gonzo' Weaver, owns and operates a shop in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Because of the heavy snow Weaver was unable to work most of the week of January 31 through February 6.

"I probably will be working overtime next week once I get back into the shop. One of the most common problems I see with snow removal is the Ford pickups. The drivers go backwards and forwards so often that the shifter housing will snap, then the truck won't go into park," said Weaver.

Weaver's Superior Auto Electric in Tulsa has been pretty much at a stand still since the heavy snow started. "It pretty much puts things to a stand still. I wouldn't call it busy, more like stuck, cars cant get in or out. So I'm shut down until this gets better. I'm hoping for next Monday (February 7), but it's not looking good. Nobody is fixing cars right now, just getting from point A to point B seems to be the big concern," said Weaver.

Herb's Paint and Body in Richardson, TX also saw heavy snow that impacted their ability to work.

"Business is brisk this morning (February 7) but it was obviously dead last week as no one got out Tuesday or Wednesday - then when they got out ... for some reason the confidence ratio was high and wrecks were everywhere," said Body Shop Manager Alan Walne, "Texans love pickups but some have not figured out they are very poor in snow with ice under it."

Unlike Weaver's shop, some shops in North Texas were able to stay open during the storm since the area wasn't hit as hard. Although shops stayed open, most were still not able to conduct much work due to lack of traffic and parts deliveries.

"We were open all last week but nobody came in and no parts or any vendor deliveries were made - not a good week but we will probably make up for it now," continued Walne.

Once the snow starts to clear up, body shops were anticipating increased traffic due to people assessing damage on their vehicles due to snow accumulation or fender benders caused by the icy conditions.

Trophy Nissan in Mesquite, TX also stayed open during the storms, but didn't see an increase in traffic until the weather lightened up a bit.

"At Trophy Nissan we were able to stay open every day until 5 which is earlier than our normal closing hour of 6. We were open a full day Saturday (February 5), and as of today (February 7) we are seeing an increase on traffic related to that storm," said Collision Center Director Matt Burkley.

Superior Auto Electric
9911 East 54th St.
Tulsa, OK, 74146
918-622-3803

Herb's Paint and Body
666 N Central Expy
Richardson, TX 75080
972-783-7376

Trophy Nissan Collision Center
4930 N Galloway Ave
Mesquite, TX 75150
972-681-0859

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