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More icy weather headed for Midwest

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Adrienne
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« on: December 10, 2007, 04:00:12 pm »

More icy weather headed for Midwest

Story Highlights
NEW: Weather service warns more ice on the way for Midwest

Oklahoma, Missouri customers without power now half a million

Weather now blamed for 13 traffic deaths and one death from hypothermia

Roads and runways coated with dangerous, often deadly ice

     
OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma (AP) -- A wintry storm caked the center of the nation with a thick layer of ice Monday, blacking out more than half a million homes and businesses. At least 13 people were killed on icy highways, and more icy weather was on the way.




Chico Villar clears downed branches from an icy road in Forest Park, Oklahoma, on Monday.

more photos   A state of emergency was declared for the entire state of Oklahoma.

In Oklahoma City, the sound of branches snapping echoed through many neighborhoods.

"You can hear them falling everywhere," Lonnie Compton said Monday as he shoveled ice off his driveway.  Watch people cope with ice, power outages

The National Weather Service posted ice and winter storm warnings lasting until Tuesday morning for parts of Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa and Illinois. Missouri declared an emergency on Sunday and put the National Guard on alert.

Oklahoma utilities said some 400,000 customers were blacked out as power lines snapped under the weight of ice and falling tree branches, and utilities in Missouri said more than 100,000 homes and business had no power there.

Roughly 11,000 were blacked out in southern Illinois and more than 5,000 had no electric heat or lights in Kansas, where Gov. Kathleen Sebelius was expecting requests from several counties for emergency declarations.

Ice was as much as an inch thick on tree limbs and power lines in parts of Missouri.  Watch ice storm freeze nation's heartland

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Schools across Oklahoma were closed and some hospitals were relying on backup power generators. Fifty generators and three truckloads of bottled water were to be shipped to blacked-out areas of the state.

Tulsa International Airport had no power and halted flight operations, and most morning flights at Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma City were canceled because of icy runways. Greyhound bus passengers were stranded overnight at a shelter in a church in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and were joined by some local residents who had no heat.

There was no way to estimate when power might be restored, said Oklahoma Gas & Electric spokesman Gil Broyles.

"This is a big one. We've got a massive situation here and it's probably going to be a week to 10 days before we get power on to everybody," said Ed Bettinger, a spokesman for Public Service Company. "It looks like a war zone."  See dramatic photos of the deep freeze

The Oklahoma City suburb of Jones, a town of 2,500 people, had low water pressure because there was no electricity to run well pumps, and firefighters said an early morning fire destroyed most of the community's high school.

The icy weather stretched into the Northeast, where many schools across upstate New York were closed or started late because of icy roads.

On ice-covered Interstate 40 west of Okemah, Oklahoma, four people died in "one huge cluster of an accident" that involved 11 vehicles, said Highway Patrol Trooper Betsey Randolph.

Eight other people also died on icy Oklahoma roads, and Missouri had one death on a slippery highway. In addition, a homeless person died of hypothermia in Oklahoma City, the state medical examiner's office said. E-mail to a friend

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/weather/12/10/winter.ice.storm.ap/index.html
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