Extreme Weather Grips Midwest, West

As extreme weather and freezing temperatures grip the Midwest for the fourth day in a row, Oklahoma residents are suffering more than most with the worst power outage in the state's history.

Frozen tree limbs continue to fall on top of power lines, some of which utility crews already had repaired in dozens of deserted neighborhoods.

The task was difficult for workers trying to restore power to as many as a million people in five states, including Kansas and Missouri.

At least 23 deaths have been blamed on the storm system since the waves of sleet and freezing rain started during the weekend and officials in Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma had declared states of emergency.

President Bush also declared an emergency in Oklahoma on Tuesday and ordered federal aid to supplement state and local response efforts.

Meanwhile, the heavy ice and lack of power have forced many families into shelters.

"Thought I'd get out of here in two, three hours most," said Oklahoma resident Sylvia Machado, who went to the shelter with her three children, but has not been able to return home.

The extended stay has made it difficult for her to keep her family's regimen.

"Bedtime schedule is out. Dinner schedule is out. Bath time schedule is out," Machado said.

And an Oklahoma City emergency command center says some residents may be without power for seven to 10 days.

"We were ahead of the game. But when you have this many outages, it's hard," said Albert Ashwood, of Oklahoma Emergency Management.

The troubles also have meant water shortages in some places and others can't get gas.

Mudslides Trouble Oregon

Meanwhile the western portion of the country -- which had evacuated residents near Portland, Ore., just before an expected mudslide hit -- has found serious damage from the mud and water that overtook the area.

The mudslide caused homes to slide off their foundations and had tree trunks floating like toothpicks.

The slide was triggered when Eilertsen Creek, which still was swollen from last week's massive rainfall, became clogged with debris.

It caused an abandoned railroad structure that had been acting as a dam to give way. While no one was injured, the property damage and the mud could be seen for miles.

In fact, nearly five acres and a stretch of Highway 30 near Clatskanie, Ore., remained under a thick, wet sludge.

"On certain parts of Highway 30, you have four to 10 feet deep of mud and debris," said Christine Miles, of the Oregon Department of Transportation.

Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...