Thousands in Dark After Huge Ice Storm (excerpts)
A massive storm that dropped sleet and freezing rain across the nation's
midsection, leaving nearly a million utility customers without electricity,
finally tapered off, but another wintry blast was forecast to develop Wednesday
over the southern Plains.
At least 24 deaths have been blamed on the storm since it developed
last weekend. Most resulted from traffic accidents. The 24 deaths blamed
on the weather include 15 in Oklahoma, four in Kansas, three in Missouri and one
each in Nebraska and Michigan.
The owner of a tree service in Tulsa, Okla. calls it a storm of "biblical
proportions." He estimates it will take six months to clean up the damage from
the ice storm affecting that city and many others across the nation's
The power outage was the worst ever in Oklahoma, with more than 618,000
homes and businesses without electricity late Tuesday. Officials said it could
be a week to 10 days before power is fully restored.
"We're relying on people to look after each other," Oklahoma City Mayor
Mick Cornett said. "At the end of the day, this comes down to the strength of
your people. ... People who have electricity ought to be sharing it with people
"We've got kerosene lamps and a fireplace," said Charita Miller of
Oklahoma City. "We're OK. We can't watch TV. Oh well, you can't have everything.
It's just me and my husband. My husband said, `there's food in the
Sonya Kendrick, who spent Monday night at one of several American Red Cross
shelters set up in Oklahoma City, said a tree ripped the electrical box off the
side of her house, and she needed a warm place to take her three children until
repairs could be made.
Officials in Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma had declared states of emergency. President Bush declared a federal emergency in Oklahoma on Tuesday, ordering government aid to supplement state and local efforts.