Heavy snowfall, followed by several days of rain has left many rural roads hard to navigate. The threat of more precipitation has some residents very concerned.

“We haven’t been able to get propane to our house because of the mud,” said Carol Price, area resident. “We are getting low.”

Employees at Miami Butane said Carter isn’t alone. Their office has been swamped with calls from people needing propane before the storm hits.

“There were a few days we couldn’t get down some of the roads, in particular 550 Road, south of Miami - the road literally gave way,” said one of the employees. “It’s also been bad on 600 Road. We got stuck east of Quapaw and had a wrecker stuck trying to get us out.”

Employees say if the cold temperatures freeze the road it will help, but if they thaw under another snow storm things could get a lot worse.

“This is the worst it’s been in 20 years,” employees say.

The National Weather Service is reporting temperatures well below zero for the next several days. Friday, the overnight temperature is expected to dip down to 8 degrees.

NWS is predicting freezing rain and sleet before noon Thursday, then snow and sleet after noon. The high is expected to be around 31, with snow to continue through the night and a low of 17.

An 80 percent chance of precipitation Thursday is likely to complicate driving on rural roads further.

Emergency personnel say they have been lucky so far. They have not been called out to emergencies on some of the more difficult roads.

When temperatures dip below 40 degrees, Oklahomans should pay attention to more than snow forecasts and slippery streets to stay safe, according to the Oklahoma Department of Health.

Ongoing research has shown that once the temperature dips below this mark, the body responds by constricting blood vessels to conserve heat in as quickly as 10 minutes after you go outside.

This cold temperature change not only raises blood pressure in healthy men and women, but can pose a serious risk of heart attack or stroke for patients with cardiovascular disease or other diseases such as diabetes and chronic kidney disease. Fatal heart attacks and stroke peak during the winter months. “Your body senses cold temperatures and sends a message to your brain, which responds by shrinking blood vessels. This is very dangerous for people with hypertension and heart diseases. It can make the conditions more severe,” said blood pressure expert Zhongjie Sun at the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine.

“Exposing any part of your body to cold temperatures is enough to send your blood pressure up. It’s very difficult to completely avoid the effects of cold weather, but you should minimize exposure.”

What you can do:

Stay indoors

Wear layers (a single layer, no matter how thick, doesn’t work)

Wear a hat

Wear gloves

Do not make sudden strong exertions if you have known heart problems

High wind, snow and rain make matters worse

Pay particular attention to children and elderly, since they have more difficulty regulating body temperature, which results in hypothermia and possible heart failure.

Symptoms to watch for:

Headache

Dizziness

Nausea