Oklahoma on Ice

t_labskd_tulsaice9rip.jpgNo, it’s not a new version of the old Broadway musical. It’s what’s happening right now as a major storm has frozen parts of Missouri, Kansas and especially Oklahoma under an inch-thick coating of ice, leading to power outages affecting millions of homes and businesses and transportation nightmares.

The Journal-Record’s Kirby Lee Davis today describes the scene in Tulsa.

(A) disquieting eeriness pervaded every shadow, which spread into an omnipresent foreboding as twilight drained to a cold, misty dark Stephen King would have loved.

That’s when a dense shroud of gloom crept into these hilly streets, mile after mile lit only by fog-dimmed headlights. Dusk transformed much of Tulsa into a bleak ghost town, one where the cold and hungry flocked like moths to most any flicker of electronic light – like the McDonald’s at 15th and Peoria, a beacon of civilization in the deserted blackness of a normally robust Cherry Street.

Amazingly, downtown Tulsa seemed graced with power – almost the exact opposite of two years ago, when a frozen water main flooded an underground Public Service Company of Oklahoma station and knocked out much of the high-rise district. But the prevailing void Monday night caught up with those who sought refuge at the Spaghetti Warehouse and other Brady District venues by 6:50 p.m., plunging them into darkness in the twinkling of an eye.

Ted Strueli blogs about the storm’s impact.

You know you’re in a bad spot when the TV crew is two doors from your house doing the live remote about how bad the storm is. KFOR‘s Scott Hines got stuck with the mobile newsroom report from my stomping grounds, Edgemere Park, which might better be called Edgemere Dark. One of the disadvantages of historic neighborhoods os that the power lines are all above ground, interlaced witht he limbs of trees planted when the houses were built. Folks in new neighborhoods get power back when OG+E makes a single repair; in old subdivisions like ours, every tree poses a threat to every line and crews have to go house-by-house to restore electricity. Part of the attraction to Edgemere Park is, logically enough, the park. Unfortunately, that park and the tree-lined streets around it look a little like something out of The Golden Compass, but without Nicole Kidman or Eva Green.

And, according to Brian Brus, hotels in the major population centers are all sold out as residents flee their dark, cold homes, searching for refuge for themselves — and their pets.

Mark Hanson at La Quinta Inn & Suites on Memorial Road said, “Reservations are obviously up, but it’s hit and miss. You never know when someone’s going to cancel. It’s about half and half.”

“The phone has just been ringing off the wall, all day,” Kraemer said. “And as soon as a traveler with a normal reservation calls to cancel because they’re not coming into town, we’ve got five other people eager to take that room.”

Kraemer said many of her guests were interested in the hotel’s policy of allowing pets. Pet owners who weren’t able to secure pet-friendly hotel rooms turned to groomers and veterinarians, many of whom had the same occupancy problems.

Manager Vickie Phillips at Dogs Beautiful in south Oklahoma City said she had to send her visitors home.

“Everybody’s been calling us like crazy, but I’ve had to contact our dog owners to come pick up their animals because we don’t have any electricity ourselves,” she said. “Our electricity went out about 5 a.m. this morning, so we got the animals all bundled up and started calling everybody.”

Brus also covers the impact of the storm on the state’s airports. Keep checking The Journal Record for updates.

(Photo by Rip Stell, The Journal Record)

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