The Latest: 11,000 without power in Oklahoma after ice storm
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Latest on ice storms in the central U.S. (all times local):
A winter storm that brought sleet and freezing rain to parts of the central U.S. has left more than 11,000 electric customers without power in Oklahoma, nearly all in northwest Oklahoma.
Woodward County Emergency Management Director Matt Lehenbauer said Sunday that the county is likely the hardest hit and thousands of residents remain without electricity.
Combined numbers from Oklahoma Gas and Electric and Northwestern Electric Cooperative show about 3,600 customers in Woodward County, nearly 1,900 in Harper County and about 1,400 in Ellis County had no electricity. Electric co-ops across the state reported more than 9,000 outages. OG&E reported more than 2,600.
Lehenbauer said as some power is restored, the ice that’s bent tree limbs begins to melt and the limbs snap back into place, sometimes knocking down additional power lines.
Officials believe icy conditions contributed to a fiery crash involving two semitrailer trucks on Interstate 80 in central Nebraska.
The accident happened as the latest wave of sleet and drizzle was glazing parts of the central U.S. on Sunday.
The Nebraska Roads Department closed 15 miles of I-80 after the trucks crashed shortly before 9 a.m. The crash happened about 9 miles west of Kearney.
Pictures of the crash show the trucks on fire along the road, but the Nebraska State Patrol says no one was hurt.
I-80 reopened by in the area by noon Sunday, but officials were urging caution.
Highways in central Nebraska were covered by ice. Most of the ice accumulation is expected in eastern Nebraska and Iowa later Sunday into Monday.
Ice accumulations of one-quarter to three-quarters of an inch appear likely, making driving dangerous and threatening to bring down tree limbs and power lines.
A third wave of sleet and drizzle is glazing swaths of the central U.S. on the eve of the Martin Luther King holiday, adding to an icy mess that began caking the region Friday.
Much of the region remains under an ice storm warning Sunday. The latest round of storms dumped three-quarters of an inch of precipitation overnight near Kansas City, Missouri. That resulted in about one-quarter of an inch of ice, given temperatures that remained below freezing.
Authorities say icy conditions contributed Saturday night to a southwestern Kansas wreck that killed a 35-year-old Oklahoma man and injured several others. The Kansas Highway Patrol says Thay Torres-Ocacio of Guymon, Oklahoma, died after the sport utility vehicle in which he was riding went out of control on an overpass and eventually overturned several times.
In Kansas near Kansas City, two troopers escaped injury when their vehicles were struck while working a crash along northbound Interstate 635.
A third wave of sleet and drizzle could hit parts of the central U.S. on the eve of the holiday, and temperatures threaten to stay near or below freezing and add to the treacherous mix.
Ice buildups of one-quarter to slightly less than a half inch were expected late Saturday and Sunday morning from southeastern Kansas to central Missouri.
Becky Allmeroth, a state maintenance engineer for the Missouri Department of Transportation, says ice is “the most difficult storm to fight.” Her department has been scrambling around the clock to treat the glazed roads.
Icy roads Saturday created dangerous conditions and travel headaches for many people who avoided authorities’ pleas to stay indoors. The storm followed one Friday that dumped freezing rain from Oklahoma to southern Illinois.