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Winter storm leaves its mark on Oklahoma

From staff reports Modified: January 30, 2010 at 9:38 am •  Published: January 30, 2010

As heavy snow fell across much of Oklahoma on Friday, Gov. Brad Henry asked the White House to approve an emergency disaster declaration request for all 77 counties.

The move came hours after a 70-year-old woman died in a propane heater explosion northwest of Ada, making her the only reported casualty of this week’s winter storm. A man, badly burned in the explosion, was flown to Oklahoma City. The victims’ names were not known Friday.

If Henry’s request is approved, state and local governments will be reimbursed for storm-related expenses, including paying overtime, operating shelters and clearing roads of ice and snow. It also will cover the use of bottled water and industrial sized generators secured from a federal agency.

Henry on Wednesday declared a state of emergency in Oklahoma, a day before the storm began coating the state in thick layers of ice and snow. The ice felled trees and toppled power lines, leaving tens of thousands without electricity. Almost 400 people took refuge in shelters Thursday night, and crews worked throughout the night and Friday to restore power.

From 6 a.m. Thursday to 3 p.m. Friday, paramedics responded to 317 emergency calls and took 254 patients to hospitals, said Lara O’Leary, Emergency Medical Services Authority spokeswoman. That included 52 patients who slipped and fell on the ice and 40 incidents involving motor vehicle accidents. Some injuries were serious.

A 70-year-old woman is dead and a man burned after a propane heater explosion near Ada, authorities said.

The man was flown to an Oklahoma City hospital to be treated for burns, Ada Fire Marshal Justin Priest said. His condition was not available.

An explosion was reported about 10:55 a.m. at a home 1

miles north and 1

miles west of Ada, Priest said.

When firefighters arrived, the home was engulfed and a man with severe burns was outside the residence. A witness went inside the home to search for additional victims, but a second explosion rocked the home, Priest said.

A leaking 40-gallon propane tank on a heater ignited inside the home, causing the first explosion.

The second blast was caused by a second heater with a 30-gallon tank, he said.

The worst of the storm is over. "No more significant weather for the weekend,” National Weather Service forecaster Daryl Williams said. "Now it’s just the drying out and clearing up.”

Cold temperatures mean that the accumulated ice and snow probably won’t go anywhere for a while, Williams said.

"When you get this much snow with ice underneath, it’s going to take a little bit,” he said.

Garfield County Emergency Manager Mike Honigsberg reported that 10 inches of snow fell in Enid. Elsewhere in Garfield County, Drummond, Waukomis and Fairmont all received nine inches. Kremlin had 8.5 inches and Hillsdale had seven inches, Honigsberg said.

Five inches of snow was reported at Will Rogers World Airport by 6 p.m. More severe weather coverage

Power outages

American Electric Power-Public Service Co. of Oklahoma reported 59,415 customers without power.

As of 9:15 p.m., Public Service Co. of Oklahoma also reported the following outages:

• Chickasha: 12,261

• Clinton: 218

• Duncan: 4,594

• Elk City: 101

• Hobart: 6,047

• Lawton: 31,621

• Okmulgee: 678

The Oklahoma Municipal Power Authority

reported 26,286 customers without power in

the following locations:

• Altus: 9,300

• Duncan: 8,942

• Eldorado: 283

• Granite: 613

• Manitou: 209

• Olustee: 316

• Lexington: 693

• Purcell: 2,219

The Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives reported 55,561 customers without power.

Oklahoma City-area forecast

• Today: Partly sunny. Highs near 30.

• Tonight: Partly cloudy. Lows

about 15.

• Sunday: Mostly sunny. High

about 35.

• Sunday night: Mostly cloudy. Lows about 30.

Oklahoma forecast

• Today: Mostly cloudy. Highs mostly in the 30s.

• Sunday: Partly cloudy. Lows in the teens and 20s. Highs from the upper 30 to mid-40s.


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