State and local leaders give update on response to ice storm

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) –  State and local leaders gave an update on the response to the ice storm.

Several people were at the warming center at the Cox Convention Center, seeking shelter after their homes became too cold to handle.

“When it gets to a point where you start shivering, your eyes start shivering, vibrating, it’s time to go somewhere,” Oscar Watson, who was at the warming center, said.

“I’m worried about where I’m going to get my food at,” Kenny Robinson said.

“My feet were frozen and I couldn’t walk,” Ann Johnson said.

Some say they think there could’ve been more preparation from leaders.

“They knew the weather was going to come like this,” Robinson said.

“Maybe we can be more prepared so these kinds of situations doesn’t happen,” Watson said.

Gov. Kevin Stitt says the state has been coordinating a response since the beginning of the week.

“On Monday, I declared state of emergency, that let power companies bring in extra crews and equipment as quickly as possible,” Stitt said.

The State Office of Emergency Management says a request for FEMA funding is in the works.

OG&E crews have come in from out-of-state to help restore electricity. They say in the Oklahoma City area, power is likely to be restored in the evening. For further areas though, it could be next week.

“This is probably the most severe storm we’ve ever had on our system,” Sean Trauschke, OG&E president and CEO, said. “Right now it could be the latter part of next week until the very last customer gets online.”

Even after the power comes back, the debris left over is a huge headache for many residents.

“The tree, if it doesn’t get cut down, it could destroy the back room and the bedroom,” Rita Payne said. “I’m 74 years old and I got heart issues and hyper thyroid disease, I’m not in good condition at all.”

The city says crews are working to clear streets with heavy traffic first.

“You’re going to be tired of looking at the storm debris before it gets picked up,” City Manager Craig Freeman said.

“This is something that’s going to take a very long time; this is a massive event,” Mayor David Holt said.

While people like Payne have neighbors doing what they can to help, she still says it’s a lot to handle.

“I’m going through a lot of stress and I need help out here because I’m all alone,” she said.

If you need help with any resources, call 211. Officials say that’s like the 911 for social services. People should also check on their neighbors.

You can also go to damage.ok.gov to report damage to infrastructure.

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