Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Schools & Offices Closed, Expect Airline Delays

How bad can it get? There are no power outages directly caused by winter's latest ice storm, though we have had some off and on. At one point last evening more than 6-thousand OG&E customers here in the metro were in the dark. Travelers are crawling and crashing statewide. The highway patrol has worked about 500 accidents. Walkers are falling and breaking bones. EMSA has been in "disaster mode" for several hours at a time. There have been at least two traffic fatalities attributed to the weather and many scores of injuries yesterday as the governor declared a state of emergency for all 77 counties. Most everything that is not absolutely essential is closed. Even Penn Square Mall in Oklahoma City closed at five o'clock yesterday. Major airports are open, but most flights are delayed or cancelled. Even Amtrak closed up shop till the storm's effects ease by some time Wednesday. Out at Will Rogers World Airport, Southwest Airlines shut down operations at 4 o'clock yesterday and by 5 all flights, of all airlines had been cancelled. Airport Director Mark Krannenburg says that will definately have an impact on the first flights scheduled out this morning. Tinker AFB is closed to all but weather emergency personnel and all non-essential state employees are being urged to stay home. Nine eastern Oklahoma counties remain under an ice storm warning, and much of the rest of the state is waiting out a winter storm warning. Emergency staging areas are running in Muskogee and McAlester. The Red Cross and faith-based organizations are working alongside state emergency personnel. Road crews have been working all night to keep snow routes open, but all non-essential travel is discouraged.