Oklahoma Governor Declares State of Emergency in 47 Counties Due to Ice Storm

October 30, 2020

More than 350,000 homes and businesses in Oklahoma were without electricity on Oct. 28 as cleanup continued from an ice storm that ravaged much of the state.

By midmorning on Oct. 28, more than 356,000 homes and businesses were without electricity statewide, according to poweroutage.us, which tracks utility reports.

Gov. Kevin Stitt declared a state of emergency for 47 of the state’s 77 counties because of severe winter weather.

Brian Alford, OG&E spokesman, told The Oklahoman that some people could be without power for days as crews work long hours to restore electricity.

“Fall storms like this are your worst nightmare,” Alford said. “You still have leaves on branches that create a considerable amount of weight. And once you begin to thaw, you see the ice melt and you get the rebound effect of branches bouncing up. So we might make progress and then there will be a setback with the bounding due to the thaw.”

As early in-person voting began in the state on Oct. 29, Oklahoma County, the state’s largest, was operating on backup power from a diesel-powered generator after the ice storm knocked out power to more than 350,000 homes and businesses.

State Election Board Secretary Paul Ziriax said voting would continue even if polling locations lose power.

“The beauty of paper ballots is that there can be voting regardless of whether the power is on or not,” Ziriax said. “It might slow things down a bit, but it will still happen.”

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