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Wicked Oklahoma ice storm covers state, sparks outages

Wednesday, October 28th 2020, 3:30 pm - Hundreds of thousands of outages have been left in the storm's wake, and 911 services have stopped responding to non-injury collisions.

Oklahoma and parts of northern Texas are buried in sheets of ice, the bullseye for an uncommon October ice storm for which Canada is tangentially to blame.

Some 200,000 customers were without power in Oklahoma Wednesday, three days after the storm ramped up, as ice-laden tree limbs snapped and fell onto power lines.

“Fall storms like this are your worst nightmare,” Brian Alford, a spokesman for Oklahoma utility OGE, told USA Today. “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.”

Road conditions are also abysmal, with calls for assistance so numerous, 911 services have stopped responding to non-injury collisions.

The ice storm is happening just a few hundred kilometres away from the U.S. Gulf Coast, where tropical weather in the form of Hurricane Zeta is happening in earnest.

Texas explainer

Warm air from the Gulf is surging aloft, as high as 2,000 metres above the surface while, much closer to the surface, a burst of cold air sinks south from Canada.

So when that copious moisture precipitates, that tropical air melts any attempt at snow, and contact with that frigid Canadian air completes the setup for freezing rain.

Below is a look at how the storm's impacts have played out on social media so far.

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