Thousands of Oklahomans left in the dark, heat after weekend storms

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – It was a sweltering weekend and more than 100,000 Oklahomans had to sweat it out at some point without power.

As we reach nearly two weeks of heat alerts, tens of thousands experienced power outages during the weekend storms.

But due to the COVID-19 pandemic, finding places to beat the heat is tough. 

“Luckily, I’m fortunate enough to go rent a generator, and yeah, staying cool,” said Candido Robles. 

When Robles’ power went out Saturday night, he took action to keep his grandmother and dog cool.

He feels lucky he could do that, saying many neighbors lost their groceries in the sweltering heat.

“Unfortunately, Mother Nature does not understands summer or COVID or anything like that. It happens when it happens and so we immediately dispatched our crews to try to get power restored as quickly as possible,” Gayle Maxwell with OG&E said.

Maxwell says Friday night’s storms impacted about 25,000 customers. 

“We were able to get them all back on by Saturday night,” she said.

But then about 30 minutes later – a double whammy – Saturday night’s storms hit, impacting more than 78,000 customers from Northwest Oklahoma to Arkansas.

They’re hoping to have everyone’s power back on by Tuesday – as the heat is on.

“It’s been several years since we’ve had this long of a stretch of heat alerts,” said John Graham with EMSA. 

EMSA has issued a heat alert daily for nearly two weeks. 

With 65 Oklahomans suffering from heat-related illnesses since June 30, it’s a dangerous time, particularly for the elderly and very young. 

“There were four or five days in a row where we ran on calls with kids locked in hot cars so it has always been a problem and will continue to be a problem, and when it’s this kind of heat it just doesn’t take very long,” Graham said.

Due to COVID-19, it’s hard to find a place to cool off.

“We’ve always encouraged – go to the movie theater, go to the mall, something like that, and I don’t know that we can really recommend that as much as we used to,” said Graham.

As crews fixed his line Monday morning, Robles headed out to return the generator. 

“Luckily, they’re getting it fixed and hopefully it stays on now,” he said.

OG&E has set up staging centers across the state including at the Lloyd Noble Center and Plaza Mayor.

They have about 1,100 restoration crews on the ground trained for COVID-19 safety and equipped with PPE. 

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