Nearly 500,000 people are without power in Oklahoma. In the Tulsa metro area there are 230,000 and 220,000 around Oklahoma City. News On 6 anchor Craig Day reports many people say the widespread outages are the worst they've ever seen. Just to put it in perspective, roughly one out of every three Oklahomans doesn't have power.
As a long, cold day turns into a seemingly never ending, frigid night, many wonder what they are going to do. There's no power, no heat, and no certainty when the effects of the winter storm will be over.
"I just had to stay under my covers and just do the best I could," said Tulsa resident, Alva Russell.
Alva Russell sought shelter at a Red Cross shelter at First Baptist Church in downtown Tulsa. A cold night in her all-electric apartment was too much.
"It's cold. And I just didn't want to be cold tonight. So I came," said Russell.
Others, several dozen are also spending the night in the shelter. Terry Teague's home still has gas heat. He's one of the lucky ones.
"Oh I feel very fortunate. Because there are so many people that are just total electric, totally electric is not a good way to go in Oklahoma because of incidents like this," said West Tulsa resident, Terry Teague.
It may be days before Teague and Russell and tens of thousands of others get electric power restored. PSO has 500 linemen working round the clock. As many as 1,500 more, from several surrounding states are expected within a couple of days.
"All of these folks are lineman. They're geared and designed to have the equipment and knowledge to deal with downed power lines and get them picked back up and get them reenergized," said Preston Kissman with PSO. Utility companies estimate it could be a week or more before power will be fully restored to everyone. Until then, warmth for Alva Russell will have to come from the kindness of strangers.
"I'm really thankful. Very grateful for caring people that want to reach out and help somebody like me," said Russell.
PSO now says it may need as many as 2,000 additional utility workers.