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AM NewsBrief: Dec. 21, 2022

This is the KGOU AM NewsBrief for Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2022.

Dangerous wind chills

Oklahomans are bracing for extremely cold temperatures heading into the holiday weekend.

The National Weather Service says dangerously cold weather is possible as gusting winds of more than 50 miles an hour could create wind chills as low as 25 degrees below zero.

Meteorologists say these cold wind chills could cause frostbite on exposed skin in as little as 30 minutes.

Snow and perhaps a brief period of freezing rain is also possible Thursday across portions northern, central and eastern Oklahoma and could make for slick spots on roadways.

Cold weather precautions

As extremely cold weather moves into the state this week, many Oklahomans and their water utilities are looking for ways to keep pipes from freezing.

Leaving sinks trickling, opening cabinets and insulating outdoor faucets can all prevent frozen pipes. Leslie Gamble with AAA says Oklahomans who are traveling should take those precautions before they head out.

"You could in theory, be gone when your pipes burst, and there's an awful mess that's there for a few days if you happen to be traveling over the holidays," said Gamble.

Erin Hatfield with the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality says water utilities across the state are bracing for the cold in much the same ways individuals are—by double-checking their supplies and keeping informed.

"We all need to take care and like, look around our house and make sure we have candles and flashlights and a weather radio. And really they’re just doing them on a really large scale," said Hatfield.

Night shelters

Organizations that help people who don’t have a warm shelter are prepping for several nights of aid as cold weather makes its way to Oklahoma.

On a normal night, Oklahoma City’s eight community shelters are able to provide around 850 beds. But with temperatures dipping below freezing, some of the organizations that run the shelters are opening up overflow.

Kinsey Crocker with the Homeless Alliance says Salvation Army, City Care and City Rescue Mission are three groups with additional beds. However, Crocker says even those will likely fill up.

The Homeless Alliance plans to open up its Day shelter Thursday thru Saturday at night to aid 80 people and their pets. The organization is working with EMBARK and coordinating transportation to their Day shelter and the night shelters in preparation for the cold.

OU bans TikTok

The University of Oklahoma has banned TikTok from university-owned devices and campus networks.

OU sent out a letter yesterday informing students and staff that the university has banned the popular social media website and app from its campus-wide internet network. The letter also states that no one should access TikTok on University-owned or operated devices. OU-administered TikTok accounts also must be deleted.

This comes after Gov. Kevin Stitt’s Executive Order that calls on state agencies to stop using the app due to national and cybersecurity concerns.

Bivalent COVID-19 vaccines available for children

The new bivalent COVID vaccines are now available for little ones.

Earlier this month, federal regulators signed off on an updated shot that’s intended to better protect against the omicron variant, as well as other new strains of the virus. It wasn’t available to children under five at the time, but that changed recently.

Approval came last week, and local health departments started getting shipments in.

Children under 5 need to stick with the same manufacturer, and they can get the bivalent vaccines two months after their second primary shot.

For more information or to schedule a vaccine, you can contact your pediatrician or a county health department.

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