ENID — This city of 50,000 residents was shut down Tuesday while residents worked to dig out from snow drifts and waited for power to be restored.
Driving into Enid on U.S. 412, cars and trucks stranded in Monday's blizzard spotted the sides of the road, snow caked on windshields and stuffed inside wheel wells.
Garfield County Emergency Management Director Mike Honigsberg said the city was bombarded with 10 inches of snow in just a few hours Monday night. In some areas, drifts were 3 to 5 feet deep, he said.
In town Tuesday morning, just as many backhoes and Bobcats were on the streets as cars, each pushing snow from parking lots into fat, towering piles in front of businesses.
Marsha Weinane had finished shoveling snow from about half of her driveway before 11 a.m.
Weinane said she and her husband lost power about 10 p.m. Monday, but they were able to ride out the cold night by keeping warm next to their fireplace.
“There were claps of thunder and huge snowflakes. You could hardly see your front yard,” she said. “The snow just came up inch by inch by inch, and it wasn't too long before we noticed the ceiling in our sun room starting to sag.”
Weinane said the blizzard left her trapped at home without power, but she still sees the good of it.
“I'm just excited about the water on my grass,” she said. “It's a huge blessing. We've been praying for this much water for months. Hopefully, spring is just around the corner now.”
Long before daylight Tuesday, Oklahoma Gas and Electric Co. crews were busy, working to restore power to more than 21,000 residents. More than 90 percent of Enid was without power at the height of the outage.
“OG&E officials stated that they will have the majority of Enid citizens back on tonight. They hope to have all back on by end of business Wednesday,” Honigsberg reported in an afternoon news release.
Enid got off relatively easy, compared to some other areas of northwest Oklahoma. About 15 miles west in Meno, U.S. 412 was impassable.
More than a foot of snow was dumped on Alva, Woodward, Taloga and Beaver.
The state Transportation Department reported many highways remained closed Tuesday afternoon. Crews were plowing and treating roads in Cimarron, Texas, Woods, Alfalfa and Major counties, as well as in parts of western Oklahoma.
Custer County Emergency Management officials reported they were using local companies with wrecker vehicles and heavy equipment to rescue stranded motorists.
In Woodward, Curtis Haines, 71, died when the roof of an addition to his home collapsed under the weight of the snow, Fire Chief Steve Day said.
Day said he had 15 inches of snow in his yard Monday when he heard the news.
The Oklahoma Corporation Commission reported about 67,700 power outages related to the storm.
The American Red Cross volunteers set up warming centers for those trying to get out of the cold and looking for something to eat or drink.
At New Hope United Methodist Church in Enid, John Sanders was quick to make guests a sandwich or help them dig their car out of the snow.
Sanders said he started volunteering for the Red Cross when a huge blizzard hit Enid in 2002.
“We just want to be here for people who haven't gotten their power back yet,” he said.
“We got some stuff for them to snack on and some music to listen to and good people to talk with. We just wanted to help give people some place to go so they wouldn't feel like they were stuck at home.”
Contributing: Staff Writers Robert Medley and