Former Oklahomans In The Northeast Prepare For Winter Storm Nemo

Friday, February 8th 2013, 10:38 pm
By: News On 6

A blizzard bore down on the East Coast Friday night. With several feet expected, New England braced for the worst.

Connecticut's Governor had already declared a state of emergency. Massachusetts' Governor banned driving in that state after 4 p.m., Friday. And in New York, an army of salt trucks was armed and ready for action.

Amtrack suspended service and airlines canceled thousands of flights.

Along with lots of snow, forecasters were calling for hurricane-force winds.

After the experience of Superstorm Sandy, folks along the Eastern Seaboard were bracing for power outages, and Oklahomans were already there to lend a helping hand.

BBC Electric sent more than 100 line workers to Massachusetts Wednesday, in preparation for the storm.

We spoke to some of the men about the work they'll be doing and a few former Oklahomans that now call the northeast home.

Snowfall and power outages are becoming all too common for residents in parts of the northeast.

"After Sandy, nobody is taking second chances," said Lori Parker, a former Tulsan who now calls New York home.

She said, with more than two feet of snow expected, everyone is preparing for the worst.

"I think we're all ready to be safe instead of sorry," Parker said.

After Superstorm Sandy, 8 million people were left without power, including former Oklahoman Jeff Hulstine.

"The grid system is weak since Sandy. There's a big fear of losing electricity," Hulstine said.

That fear has states like Massachusetts calling in contractors from the Midwest, like BBC Electric.


"These companies like to have crews on standby, so when the storm hits, we're already here, and they don't have to call them afterward," said lineman Lawrence Kahbeah, from Okmulgee.

He said weather like this always makes things more dangerous.

"We're up in the power lines, we do underground cables, so it's a wide variety of safety issues," Kahbeah said.

He said his heart goes out to the people who have been bombarded with severe weather over the last few months, but he said he's always overwhelmed by the willingness to help in the midst of crisis.

"They'll come out and give you water, whatever they can, and they are shaking your hand," Kahbeah said. "They are just thrilled, and it's a pretty good feeling once you help someone out like that."

People like his fellow Oklahomans, are happy to have folks from the Heartland helping out up north.

"When this type of weather hits, you can kind of see the best and the worst of everybody, and I'd like to see more of the best," Parker said.

Lawrence Kahbeah has been doing line work for nearly 25 years, and he said most emergencies like this require them to stay in the area for three weeks, but he said it will all depend on how long this storm decides to stick around.