US Winter Storms may leave thousands in darkness for days
The winter storms continue across the United States today, and emergency crews in various major US cities are working around the clock to clear ice and roads of fallen tree limbs, as another winter ice storm is on the way. Some communities across the country have lost power and it may be days before it is restored to them.
At least 19 people have died due to the storms across the Plains and the East Coast as the ice storms have cut power and made roads hazardous to drivers. Schools have been closed and government offices have been shut down for the time being.
Areas like New Hampshire are still expected to get up to a foot more of snow today, and areas like Arkansas, Kentucky and Oklahoma are dealing with fallen tree limbs that are encased in ice; in some areas the ice is three inches thick around the limbs.
"We fully expect this to be one of the largest outages we've ever had," said Mel Coleman, CEO of the North Arkansas Electric Cooperative in Salem. "Right now, we're just hoping it's days and not weeks."
Ice storms overnight in West Virginia knocked out power to thousands more. American Electric Power reported more than 40,000 outages early Wednesday. Many other utilities struggled to keep up as ice accumulated on power lines and tree branches.
"Lines are still breaking," said John Campbell, the operations chief for Missouri's State Emergency Management Agency. "All the reports we are getting is they are losing the battle right now just because precipitation is still falling."