Thousands Without Power As Winter Storm Crosses Oklahoma


Monday, February 25th 2013, 8:13 am
By: News On 6


Thousands of customers have lost power in southwestern Oklahoma as a winter storm moves through the region.

The Public Service Company of Oklahoma's website shows between 6,000 and 10,000 customers without power as of Monday afternoon, though the number fluctuates.

Spokesman Ed Bettinger says most of the problems have cropped up along the Interstate 40 corridor. He says the company doesn't yet know how long it'll take to restore power.

A blizzard warning has been expanded to include Pawnee and Washington counties until 6 a.m. Tuesday, February 26, 2013. 

The Oklahoma Panhandle and a number of counties along the Kansas state line, including Osage County are already included in the blizzard warning.

See Full List Of Alerts

The National Weather Service warns that travel will be very dangerous until Tuesday morning, with drifting snow and visibility near zero.

Trooper Betsy Randolph with the Oklahoma Highway Patrol says road closure has extended from Cimarron County eastward to Enid in north-central Oklahoma and southward to Washita County as of Monday afternoon.

Randolph says at least 15 motorists have reported being stranded, as well as some patrol cars and county sheriffs. She urges people in the area not to travel as it may be a while before help can reach them.

Due to blizzard conditions, the Oklahoma Department of Transportation says all roads in Ellis, Harper, Woodward, Beaver, Texas and Cimarron are closed until further notice.

ODOT says crews will resume clearing roadways in the area, as soon as the blizzard conditions subside.

The OHP says I-40 is shut down from Amarillo, Texas east to the Oklahoma state line.

Nowata, Craig and Ottawa counties in Oklahoma and Chautauqua and Montgomery counties in Kansas are under a Winter Storm Warning from noon Monday until 6 a.m. Tuesday.

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Forecasters expect eight to 12 inches of snow, with up to 16 inches possible in some areas. Winds of 30 to 40 mph are predicted, and forecasters say gusts up to 55 mph are possible.

State transportation department crews say snow is already causing problems in northwest Oklahoma. 

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol encourages drivers to check conditions before heading west and northwest Monday and Tuesday and allow extra time getting to a destination should travel be necessary.

ODOT says 550 trucks are available statewide. The state says sand and salt sheds are stocked and crews are ready to respond to any conditions.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.