LAWTON ï¿½ Charity Nayak slowly navigated along slippery State Highway 7 near Lawton. She had been awake 29 hours to help open emergency shelters but was in no hurry to get back home.
"It's crazy here," she said today . "I'm completely good. I could keep going, but they told me I had to go home and get some sleep."
The Red Cross volunteer was helping to open the Lawton shelter when she got a call around 5:30 p.m. Thursday. The Red Cross needed her help to open the Duncan shelter as the ice storm plunged the community into darkness.
"We had a lot of people show up and we're expecting more," Nayak said.
Sixty-five people from Duncan went to Stephens County Fairground to get shelter and hot meals, said Kyla Campbell, America Red Cross spokeswoman.
"That's a lot. Especially since we're not typically a shelter state. We go to families' homes, friends' houses or a lot of places before we go to a shelter," she said.
She added that all the shelters are well-supplied and prepared.
"If it's a prolonged storm, we will be opening up more shelters," she said.
Altus Police dispatcher Christina Miller said the department has gotten an untold number of calls since the city lost its main transmission line sometime between 4 and 6 p.m. Thursday.
"It's cold and dark all over town," Miller said. She said she had to ask a police officer for a ride to work early Friday morning because her car doors were frozen shut.
Lloyd Colston, director of emergency management for Altus, said power started flickering in the area around 2 p.m. Thursday. As of Friday morning, Oklahoma Municipal Power Authority reported more than 9,700 without power in the area. The southwest portion of the state was one of the hardest hit by the ice storm.
"This is just no fun at all," Colston said. "And the cold doesn't look like it's going away for a while."
A shelter opened at the Altus Community Center Thursday evening, said John Valenzuela, disaster services diretor for the Southwest Oklahoma Chapter of the Red Cross. A shelter was also opened in Hollis, a warming station in Hobart and a temporary shelter in Mangum.
"It looks like a tornado came through here," said Valenzuela of the ice-covered trees and powerlines downed across Jackson County.
He said there is still no word on when power might be restored to the area.
"You have to understand that there are people here on oxygen and other things who need power for medical reason," he said.
As many as 90 individuals were expected to take shelter at the Altus Community Center Friday evening.
Hollis handles it
Hollis has been in the dark since 9 a.m. Thursday, Hollis Police Department dispatcher Randall Springfield said.
"There's no electricity. Ice is several inches thick and lines are down everywhere," he said.
He said everyone's behaving pretty well but residents are jamming the phone lines, mostly with questions on how soon the electricity will be restored. The power company said it will be five to 10 days, he said.
People are using one gas station's manual pump to pump gas and some stores are opening so people can buy generators to use in the meantime, he said.
"They're doing like most Oklahomans do, taking care of themselves," Springfield said.
Half a dozen Mangum residents who lost power Thursday night were staying at the Church of New Beginnings and more are expected, said church member Mike Welch.
"We're just doing whatever we can for them," he said. "The good Lord is blessing us. People are offering food and all kinds of stuff."
The Oklahoma Department of Human Services is supplying some shelters with USDA food commodities.
Additionally, Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief is supporting the shelters with 20 feeding sites. Sam Porter said the group deployed its teams across the state but has shifted as many people as possible to southwest Oklahoma where the worst of the weather hit.
Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief also has chainsaw teams on standby to assist with removing downed tree branches in the affected areas. To see where resources are available, visit www.okc.redcross.org.
The Salvation Army reports their Oklahoma City shelter location is at near capacity. All additional guests will be placed on cots and mats. Maj. Dan Proctor of the Salvation Army said 137 people were housed overnight.
And Campbell said the American Red Cross of Central Oklahoma is ready to open shelters in Oklahoma City if the need arises.
Campbell said the shelters are on standby but haven't been needed because the power outages in the city area haven't been widespread.
Altus — Altus Community Center, 401 Falcon Rd.
Anadarko — First Baptist Church, 700 Petree
Asher — First Baptist Church, 109 E Main St.
Canton — Canton Town Hall
Carnegie — Carnegie Elementary School, 202 W 4th St.
Chickasha — Grady County Fairgrounds, 500 E Choctaw
Clinton-ï¿½ Cheyenne-Arapaho Elderly Nutrition Center
Concho — Concho Community Hall, 200 Wolf Robe Circle
Duncan — Stephens County Fairgrounds, 2002 S 13th St.
Elmore City — First Baptist Church, 107 S Texas Ave.
Geary- Cheyenne & Arapaho Community Hall
Hammon- Cheyenne & Arapaho Community Hall
Hobart — First Methodist Church, 201 S Washington
Holdenville — Senior Center, 124 N Creek
Hollis — Hollis Civic Center, 208 W Jones
Lawton — Cameron Baptist Church, 2621 SW C Ave.
Lindsay — Calvary Baptist Church, 5th and Chickasaw
Mangum — Church of New Beginnings, 408 N Tittle Ave.
Newcastle — Newcastle Storm Shelter, 851 N Carr
Paoli — Paoli Senior Citizens Center
Pauls Valley — Garvin County Fair Barn, 1401 N Willow
Purcell — Multi-Purpose Center, 1400 Chandler Rd.
Seiling — Community Building
Watonga — Watonga Cheyenne-Arapaho Community Center
El Dorado — El Dorado Community Center, 514 W Main, and El Dorado School, 116 N 7th
Hobart — First United Methodist, 201 S Washington
McAlester — Salvation Army Office, 400 N A St.
Woodward — Woodward American Red Cross Chapter, 1209 Ninth St.
Wynnewood — First Baptist Church
An open warming center is capable of turning into a shelter at any time if officials determine a need for overnight sheltering.