Thousands still without power in Oklahoma

Monday, February 4th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

A winter storm predicted to dump several inches of snow could add to the woes of thousands of Oklahomans who remain without power after another storm coated trees and power poles with ice.

Rain was expected to turn to snow across Oklahoma early Tuesday and snow was likely in central and southern sections of the state later in the day, the National Weather Service said. Snow was likely in the eastern part of the state Wednesday.

Heavy accumulations could be seen in some communities hit hardest by last week's storm.

``I guess that groundhog in Pennsylvania saw his shadow Saturday, and this storm verifies that winter isn't over yet _ if you believe in that sort of thing,'' said meteorologist Forrest Mitchell.

The heaviest snowfall _ a possible 3 to 6 inches _ will be in a band extending from Elk City to Stillwater to the north and Ryan to Holdenville to the south.

One to 2 inches of snow are expected in the Panhandle and northeastern Oklahoma. Northwestern Oklahoma could get 1 to 3 inches while south-central and southeastern Oklahoma could get 2 to 5 inches.

More than 61,000 homes and businesses were still without power Monday. More than 255,000 customers were without electricity immediately after the storm.

It could take weeks to restore electricity to residents in many rural areas, said Michelann Ooten, spokeswoman for the Oklahoma Department of Civil Emergency Management.

Gov. Frank Keating on Monday added Kiowa, Greer and Jackson counties to the state's disaster area list. Thirty-one counties now are on that list.

President Bush has issued a major disaster declaration for the state.

Authorities also believe the weather conditions could be related to the conditions.

Randy Joe Peck, 33, of Pond Creek died after inhaling carbon monoxide fumes from a generator he was running in his garage, authorities said.

James Glasgow, 69, of Blackwell died early Sunday while using a propane lamp in his pickup. Fumes from the lamp are being blamed for Glasgow's death.