More winter heads for Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

01/19/07 - Muskogee, OK

More winter heads for Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri

Weather-related wrecks snarl traffic Thursday in Jamestown, North Carolina. Weather-related wrecks snarl traffic Thursday in Jamestown, North Carolina.
NE Oklahoma NE Oklahoma

Still recovering from snow and ice storms that downed power lines and trees in a large swath of the country, residents of Oklahoma, Missouri and Texas braced for another round Friday.

With thousands of customers in Oklahoma still without power, Gov. Brad Henry on Thursday requested a major federal disaster declaration, which would make people in hard-hit counties eligible for housing grants and low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses. He had already declared a state of emergency.

"Unfortunately, the worst may not be over," Henry said.

Much of Oklahoma and parts of Missouri were forecast to get 6 inches of snow from Friday to Sunday, even as utilities worked to restore electricity to more than 164,000 customers who lost it in the last storm.

In eastern Oklahoma, ice snapped hundreds of power poles and transmission lines. More than 57,000 customers statewide remained without power late Thursday, six days after freezing rain began to fall, and more than 1,000 people remained in shelters and many schools remained closed.

Mike Mackey, 47, who has been staying in an American Red Cross shelter in Muskogee with his wife and son, said the crushing weight of ice broke trees throughout his neighborhood.

"It looks like Godzilla came through there and just stomped them all down," he said.

At least 70 deaths related to winter weather have been reported in nine states in the past week, including 23 in Oklahoma and 12 each in Texas and Missouri.

In Texas, the wintry weather forecast Friday was expected to be less severe than the pelting of snow and freezing rain that paralyzed much of the state this week.

San Antonio, Austin and Houston, which saw rare icy conditions during the last storm, were expected to avoid the worst of the incoming storm, even as El Paso officials announced county offices would be closed Friday. Freezing weather also was expected in northern parts of the state, including Dallas.

The rare spate of icy weather has led hard-hit areas to scramble for sand and de-icing chemicals. Stocks will be rationed in far West Texas this weekend, said Blanca Del Valle, a Texas Department of Transportation spokeswoman.

In other parts of the state, bridges and overpasses will probably get the highest priority, but icy roads that would normally get treatment might not if supplies are in question, department spokesman Randy Ormsby said.

"It's a problem we've never seen before," he said. "We typically don't go through this much ice and snow statewide."

Texas airports largely grounded by freezing rain earlier this week resumed mostly normal schedules Thursday. Formerly ice-slicked roads also reopened, including a 300-mile stretch of Interstate 10 from Fort Stockton to San Antonio that had been shut down since Tuesday.

In Missouri, particularly in the state's southwest section, more than 108,000 homes and businesses were still without power Thursday, the State Emergency Management Office said.

Along with the fatalities in Oklahoma, Texas and Missouri, the wave of storms was blamed for eight deaths in Iowa, four each in New York and Michigan, three in Arkansas, two in North Carolina and one each in Maine and Indiana.

Story courtesy of CNN Newsource.

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