Tulsa Couple Describes Being Stuck On I-40 In Blizzard

Monday, February 25th 2013, 4:04 pm
By: News On 6

Two Tulsans were trapped in the mess in the Texas panhandle. They spent almost a full day stuck in the middle of Interstate 40 near Amarillo.

White-out conditions forced the interstate to shut down.

By the time we spoke to them on the evening of Monday, February 25, 2013, the couple had been in their Jeep for 16 hours. They said it's not been the snow vacation they had in mind.

"We are sitting on an ice skating rink, basically, right now. It is slick," Chelsea Hill said.

Dusty Penn and Chelsea Hill left Tulsa at midnight on Monday, February 25, 2013 for a Colorado ski trip. They took an extreme southern route through Amarillo to avoid the worst of the storm.

2/25/2013 Related Story: Thousands Without Power As Winter Storm Crosses Oklahoma

"We literally drove right smack into it," Hill said.

Traffic came to a stop on I-40 and they were stranded there with other drivers.

"It's miserable, I mean we're literally stuck," Hill said. "I've had my moments of panic. I keep looking over at my boyfriend and going, 'Okay, please tell me we aren't going to freeze to death out here,'" Hill said.

"I enjoyed it for about an hour. It's a once in a lifetime experience, that's for sure," Penn said.

The couple carefully conserved their tank of gas.

"We've been shutting off the engine for about an hour at a time, and then letting it warm up and thaw out," Penn said.

They were in the worst blizzard of the season in the Texas Panhandle. Temperatures are below freezing and at least 19 inches of snow have fallen.

But nothing compares to the wind. The Amarillo airport recorded hurricane-force gusts of 75 mph.

"It's the wind that's making it horrible. The car shakes. The trailer on the semi sitting next to us is rocking," Hill said. "It's like we're in a wind tunnel of snow."

They said they had plenty of pillows, gloves, snacks and blankets to get them by. Ironically, they said if it got really cold, they had warm ski apparel sitting unused in the back seat.

We spoke with Chelsea and Dustin just before 10 p.m., and help had just arrived to start pulling out vehicles. They weren't moving yet, but they said it looked like they would be soon.