Tahlequah Area Trying To Recover From Storm

Wednesday, January 28th 2009, 5:50 pm
By: News On 6

By Craig Day, The News On 6

TAHLEQUAH, OK -- Thousands of people in Cherokee County are among those who have lost power.  As utility crews work to restore service, many are coping with the icy weather as best they can.

Across Cherokee County, the ice is taking a toll on trees, power lines and the stamina of storm victims.  Many people at the Red Cross shelter at First United Methodist Church in Tahlequah have no power, no heat, and no idea how long it will stay this way.

"It's wonderful, we was really thankful.  Praise God for that one because we didn't know what we was going to do," said Tony Patterson of Tahlequah.

Kentucky resident Rachel Naron wasn't sure either.  Naron is in Tahlequah to visit relatives.  With a 15- month-old daughter, she didn't want to take chances with the cold.

"If we didn't have her, we would have probably stayed at the house, but because of her we probably better come on out," said Rachel Naron.

More than 9,000 customers are without power in Cherokee County, mostly in the eastern and southern parts.     

Emergency management leaders are working to set up shelters in those areas.

"Those are remote locations, very rural locations, within our county.  We have several members who are just not able to make it in to the City of Tahlequah to the shelter that's been established here," said Scott Pettus with Cherokee County Emergency Management.

All across Tahlequah and Cherokee County, there are downed branches that just couldn't withstand the weight of all the ice.  It seems like every few minutes, another large branch falls.  When you look at the damage, it's going to take quite some time to clean it all up.

The cleanup has already started for Shaun West whose yard is a littered with limbs.

"We thought we could sit inside and look outside at what we need to do later or we could just do it today and get it over with," said Shaun West.

The work is also well underway for street crews, crisscrossing their way around the city.  It's an icy mess that is difficult to deal with.  One that is leading many people to hope and pray it warms up soon.