Oklahoma activates National Guard as temperatures plunge

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A massive winter storm is cutting a treacherous and freezing path across much of the U.S. Monday morning.

Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt activated the National Guard to keep people safe, as temperatures in Oklahoma City are expected to plummet to levels not seen in more than 100 years.

The weather system is moving into the Midwest and Northeast, causing major problems on the roads. Texas is now in a state of emergency after some areas saw their first snowfall in almost six years, and the coldest temperatures in decades. 

Oklahoma City saw 12 hours of snowfall Sunday. Freezing temperatures over the last day combined with wind chill make the weather outside feel 20 to 30 degrees below zero, CBS News’ Mireya Villarreal reports.

Maintenance crews there are picking up snow and dumping it at the city’s arena in an attempt to clear the streets before another front hits. 

Over the weekend, the unparalleled winter storm targeted Southern states that are not used to handling a powerful mix of snow, ice and below-freezing temperatures. The weather caused a fiery wreck in Oklahoma and white-out conditions in Arkansas, as sheets of ice blanketing interstates send vehicles careening out of control.

“Our roads, no matter how much we salt them, are not designed for it,” Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo said on Instagram.

For the first time, all of Texas’ 254 counties are under winter storm warnings.

Oklahoma is also breaking records, with temperatures below 20 degrees for five straight days — the third time ever in the history of the state. 

For truck driver Suzanne Marcinko, driving on the state’s roads for work can be a life or death decision in the unprecedented conditions.

“Every time you take that key and you start it up, you take your life in your own hands and you take the public’s life in your hands too,” Marcinko said.

The same storm left at least 200,000 people without power over the weekend. The two-day snowfall was the most seen in Seattle in almost 40 years, leaving some residents digging themselves out of more than a foot of snow.

In Oklahoma City, where the temperature was six degrees below zero Monday morning, the forecast shows conditions are unlikely to improve.

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