Nightmare of a winter storm drags on
BY RHETT MORGAN and MANNY GAMALLO World Staff Writers
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
12/07/12 at 2:53 PM
A weekend nightmare of sleet and
freezing rain dragged into Monday
as thousands of tree limbs -- snapping under the weight of ice -- tore
down power lines, leaving entire cities virtually without power across
parts of the state.
The storm left more than 450,000
customers without electricity statewide.
Electric utility officials said it
could be up to a week, possibly 10
days, before full power is restored to
At Sand Springs, officials were
hoping for quick work by American
Electric Power-Public Service Company of Oklahoma to avert a critical
Mike Carter, assistant police
chief, said power to the city's water
plant was disrupted Monday, leaving the city of nearly 20,000 residents relying on just a 24-hour supply of water.
"PSO has told us we would be a
high priority," Carter said about
power restoration at the water plant.
Otherwise, Carter urged residents limit their consumption of water to just for drinking.
More than 75 percent of Sand
Springs was suffering from a power
blackout, prompting officials to open
an emergency shelter.
Power to Collinsville, Skiatook
and nearly all of Owasso also was
Skiatook officials also asked residents to conserve water, saying the
town could run out of water on Tuesday if it doesn't receive a generator
for a treatment plant.
About 2,500 customers had no
electricity in Collinsville, where
crews have been working to restore
power since Sunday, City Manager
Pam Polk said. Roughly the same
number were without power in Skiatook, Town Coordinator Martin
"It's a nightmare," Polk said. "It's
devastating when you walk out
At the shelter at the First Baptist
Church in Collinsville, Red Cross
volunteer John Smith said 36 people
stayed overnight Sunday with more
expected to do the same Monday.
"It looks like a tornado hit and left
all the houses," Smith said of the
major tree damage. "I have a weeping willow in the front yard. I was going to trim it. Now I don't have to."
Earlier this year, Smith served as
a Red Cross volunteer in the wildfire-ravaged areas of California.
"I've lived here 25 years and I've
never seen anything like this,"
Willie Sigers sat at the shelter, her
head in her hands, thinking about
the elderly and persons on fixed incomes, she said.
Sigers came to the facility with
her daughter, Juanita Jackson, and
Jackson's six children, who range in
age from 11 months to 15 years.
"I know there are other people out
there who can't get out," she said.
"They have no place to go. I'm angry."
Cheryl Royer sat on the shelter
floor with her two daughters, ages 6
and 7. Her husband, Mike Royer,
works for the Collinsville Street Department, she said.
"If it wasn't for this, I don't know
what we'd do," she said. "It's never
been this bad -- never."
The scene was much the same in
Owasso, where downed tree limbs
blocked streets and roughly 70 percent of the city was without power,
Assistant City Manager Tim Rooney
Vehicles six to seven deep lined
up at available gas stations, and patrons flocked to any restaurant that
"Any place that's open seems to
be crowded," Rooney said.
Chris Greer awoke at his Owasso
residence to find his daughter's pet
lizard seemingly frozen because of
the significant drop in household
temperature. As he told his story to
a reporter, his wife, Kelli, scrambled
via the telephone to find a motel to
accommodate their family.
Their power returned later that
morning, and the cold-blooded creature was nursed back to health.
On the west side of Owasso, Anthony Fuller, 14, and Skyler York,
13, walked in wonderment through
"It's crazy," Skyler said. "It's cool
but it's bad."
Widespread power outages were
reported in Rogers County in Chelsea, Foyil and Tiawah, said Bob Anderson, emergency management director.
Sporadic outages were reported
in the Oologah-Talala area, and
roughly 15 to 20 percent of the power was out in Claremore and Inola,
Residents of the Colonial Nursing
Home in Chelsea were evacuated
Sunday to facilities in Chouteau and
Pryor, he said.
The city of Nowata also was without power for the second day on
The city also had no water, as generators at a pumping station had no
power, officials said.
In Broken Arrow, power was out
to thousands of business and homes
late Sunday and into Monday, city
spokesman Keith Sterling said.
Trees weighed down by the ice were
rampant, and traffic lights at major
intersections remained without power, he said.
At least a dozen homes were damaged by fallen trees, but that number is expected to rise, Sterling said.
Most of Bixby north of the Arkansas River was without power. Bixby
Police Chief Ike Shirley said about
25 to 30 percent of residents were affected.
More than 226,000 customers
with Oklahoma Gas & Electric were
without power Monday afternoon,
mostly in the Oklahoma City area.
Both lanes of Interstate 35 were
shut down early Monday afternoon
in Oklahoma City after ice-laden
power lines fell into the roadway.
World staff writers Jeff Billington, Susan
Hylton and the Associated Press contributed to
Rhett Morgan 581-8395
Manny Gamallo 581-8386
2007: A January
ice storm left more
than 122,000 customers without electricity. Restoring
service took more
than 17 days.
2002: A late January storm in western and northern
out power to more
than 250,000 people. Some do not
have power restored until March.
2000: A Christmas Day storm
dumps 1 to 4 inches
of sleet and freezing
rain over eastern
Oklahoma and northwestern Arkansas.
About 120,000 people are without power in eastern Oklahoma, including 90
percent of the people in Haskell, McIntosh, Latimer and
1987: A Christmas Day storm
dumps ice accumulations of up to 2
inches from near
Duncan to Tulsa.
More than 200,000
PSO customers --
in Tulsa -- lose power for some time.
1985: In late November, Bedlam
football's now-famous ''Ice Bowl''
takes place in a virtual skating rink in
freezing rain and
sleet fall throughout
Red Cross Volunteer Nancy Smith works by flashlight in the Red Cross shelter in Collinsville on Monday.
Keith Scott of Collinsville wipes his face as he sits in a Red CrossShelter at the First Baptist Church in Collinsville on Monday.
Utility crews work on powerlines covered by ice in Collinsvilleon Monday.