Tulsans Go East To Help After Damaging Storms

Tuesday, July 3rd 2012, 6:06 pm
By: Emory Bryan

More than a million customers were still without power from the Midwest to the east coast.

This is the fourth day folks are dealing with sweltering heat and no electricity.

The death toll from this summer storm now stands at 23, and authorities are concerned the longer it takes to get back to normal, the more vulnerable people will get.

Utility crews say they are working 16-hour shifts, sometimes longer.

President Obama declared federal disaster emergencies in Ohio and West Virginia.

The Public Service Company of Oklahoma has 60 employees from Tulsa helping out in Ohio, and they expect to be there all week.

Oklahoma Gas and Electric has crews there as well.

A Tulsan who was there for the storm said by Oklahoma standards it wasn't so unusual, except in the amount of damage that was left behind.

The line of storms that moved from Chicago to Washington D.C. was remarkable because that part of the country hardly ever gets that kind of storm.

It moved through Friday afternoon, arriving in Washington about midnight, and leaving plenty of damage.

From Tulsa, News on 6 meteorologist Mike Grogan was watching the weather.

"I'm drawn to active weather and if I see that happening near family and friends, I like to let them know even if they're out of Oklahoma," said Mike Grogan.

So he called his father Pat Grogan, who was visiting Washington.

"He had actually texted me before the storm and said ‘There's a storm coming your way,' and I told my niece, ‘You better take the dog out, because it's going to rain and pretty soon the power went out,'" Pat Grogan said.

Grogan said the storm really didn't seem that severe until he saw the damage.

"The amount of devastation was amazing to me," Pat said. "There wasn't a road I was on that I didn't have to go around trees, some of them 3-foot in diameter."

Mike Grogan said a storm like that here would cause damage, but not nearly as much, in part because anything in Oklahoma that can be easily blown over already has been.

"They're more heavily wooded than we are and they have an older infrastructure, so their problems are going to be compounded as a result," he said.

Pat Grogan said he couldn't believe a storm like that could leave that much damage.

"We have 60 mile per hour winds in the state, straight line and there's obvious damage from those here, but I've never seen damage like what I saw widespread throughout the District," Pat said.